Nigeria’s Mikel Obi is one of the players in the list of 11 top world football stars selected for a new campaign against the deadly Ebola virus.
Dubbed the “11 against Ebola” campaign, Mikel joins other world stars like Christiano Ronaldo and Brazilian prodigy Neymar to help spread messages that would increase awareness of the disease and by that reduce the spread.
According to a statement of FIFA’s website on Monday, the selected players are joining forces with the Confederation of African Football, CAF, and health experts to raise global awareness and promote simple preventative measures in the fight against Ebola.
According to FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter, the popularity of football and indeed the selected players can give the world a crucial platform to drive home the message about Ebola.
“The popularity of football gives us a unique platform to reach all communities. We hope that football can play its part and that this campaign against Ebola can make a real difference on the ground as the world comes together to fight the virus and to help those living in affected communities.
In a similar light, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer, Jiří Dvořák, said exploring the power of football is a veritable tool in the fight against the deadly disease.
“We doctors have experienced the power of football when it comes to prevention and health, while successfully implementing the ‘FIFA 11 for Health’ programme in 15 African countries as part of the medical legacy of 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Now we are using the same system to tackle Ebola, by presenting simple educational messages to prevent the spread of the disease through the voices of football stars – ‘When football talks, everybody listens’,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization, WHO, as of November 9, a total of 14,098 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported in six countries. There have been 5,160 deaths with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone witnessing the highest case.