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06.08.2008 06:50

Goals for hope

David Saura (special correspondent)

The entire FC Barcelona squad has taken part in a charity event organised in conjunction with Malaria No More and the AYSO to fight against this disease, and the players did it in the best way they know how: playing football.

from the fans, especially the young ones. Chelsea Waterfront Park, an artificial grass pitch in Manhattan, was the venue for an afternoon of football and charity. The Barça players used this public facility to raise awareness about malaria.

Football matches

partit_malaria_2.jpgAnd they did that by playing football. The players split up into pairs to form teams of five with two youngsters from the AYSO and another person who had bought the right to play in an auction. The money raised will be used to start up the ‘Kick it to malaria’ campaign which was launched on Monday in New York and in which FC Barcelona, through its Foundation, is directly involved.

The ‘competition' system

The organisers laid on a knockout competition (quarter finals, semi finals and final), with ten minute games in which the teams represented African countries such as Angola, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Cameroon and Ivory Coast. Malaria is unfortunately still very prevalent in all these countries.

Hleb and Márquez the winners

partit_malaria_3.jpgThe tournament was won by the Rwanda team featuring Barça stars Márquez and Hleb, who defeated Angola, for whom Valdés and Pinto showed great ball skills as outfield players. Other pairs who took part included Piqué and Bojan, Henry and Martín Cáceres, Abidal and Eto'o and Xavi and Gudjohnsen.

Before heading off to training at Giants Stadium, the players had their photos taken with fans and signed autographs for the large crowd who came along to the event.
Goals for hope
Where the money goes
The money raised under this programme will be used to support malaria control projects in Africa in partnership with the International Network of Solidarity Centres run by the FC Barcelona Foundation. These Solidarity Centres are currently operating in 11 countries around the world, half of them in Africa.

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