In a remarkable event over the weekend, the Mano River Union (MRU) consisting of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia had the privilege of hosting a distinguished delegation from FIFA.
Led by the renowned FIFA and CAF Council member, Madam Isha Johansen, the delegation arrived with the purpose of advancing the Football for Peace Initiative.
A warm and gracious welcome was extended to the FIFA and MRU delegations by the Paramount Chief of Malleh Chiefdom. His enthusiasm for the initiative in his Chiefdom was palpable and indicative of the positive impact it is anticipated to have.
The FIFA delegation was warmly greeted by the Ambassador of the Mano River Union, Maria G. Harrison. This visit provided FIFA and the MRU countries with a valuable opportunity to survey the construction site of the Peace Village, which aims to amplify football activities in the region.
The MRU Ambassador acclaimed the People of Malema Town where the Mano River was born for welcoming them to their town. “We are happy to be here fifty years later to be talking about the development the Mano River Union is trying to bring to Malema Town.”
She mentioned that through the help of the governments of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Republic of Liberia, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, FIFA, and other development partners, the Union is planning to build the Mano River Peace Village in Malena, Pujehun, which would put Melena Town on the international map. The Ambassador said that it is important to thank Madam Isha Johansen for leading this delegation from Switzerland to work on the progress of this outstanding project
Madam Isha Johansen, conveying warm greetings on behalf of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, expounded on the significance behind the Peace Park Initiative’s construction. She emphasized that football transcends barriers, uniting people regardless of their tribal, religious, or ideological differences. Moreover, she highlighted how football creates enduring connections that go far beyond the 90 minutes played on the field.
On behalf of President H. E. George Weah, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Liberia, Hon. Andy G. Quamie extended a warm welcome to FIFA for undertaking the Peace Park Initiative. Additionally, he noted with pride that President George Weah remains the sole African recipient of the FIFA Best Player award. The Minister commended FIFA for embarking on this monumental project and emphasized that its contribution to promoting peace and unity through sport would be remembered in history.
Ms. Kenyeh Ballay, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development in Sierra Leone conveyed fraternal greetings on behalf of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and expressed enthusiastic support for the FIFA Peace Park Initiative. Emphasizing its potential to foster positive collaboration within the sub-region.
The Minister also highlighted the tremendous impact it would have on unity.
She furthered acclaimed FIFA and the Mano River Union for such wonderful initiative.
The site visitation by FIFA engineers, along with the delegation, culminated in jubilation.
This Football for Peace Initiative represents a significant step towards fostering harmony and understanding among the MRU countries.
It will serve as a testament to the power of football in bridging divides and leaving lasting impact on communities.