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Kaká accepts ambassadorial role
Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Brazilian star Kaká, who helped AC Milan lift the Serie A title last season, has been appointed as the United Nations world food programme's youngest ambassador against hunger.

'Hope to hungry'
Kaká, who was also a member of Brazil's 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning squad in Korea/Japan, will use his profile as a successful international sportsman to highlight the crisis of global hunger. "It's a real honour to help the WFP team rid the world of hunger," said Kaká at a press conference in Milan's San Siro stadium. "I owe a lot to football. Now I'd like to give something back and bring hope to hungry kids less fortunate than myself."

Personal experience
Working with WFP will not be the first time that the 22-year-old has come face-to-face with hunger. As a junior player honing his skills at São Paolo FC's celebrated soccer academy, he grew-up with poor, undernourished children from the city's urban slums, each one dreaming of escaping poverty through football.

Prominent role
As the world's biggest food aid agency, WFP is playing a leading role in meeting the first United Nations' millennium development goal for the 21st century: halving the proportion of hungry people around the world by 2015. Brazil is also at the forefront of a global campaign to put the fight against hunger at the top of the international agenda.

Millions affected
Hunger and malnutrition claim more than ten million lives each year - more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. It also stops millions of children growing to their full potential. Eradicating hunger is key to global development.

'Natural ambassadors'
"Footballers are natural ambassadors. Their sport is the most popular in the world, crossing borders and uniting cultures. By visiting our projects and operations, Kaká can use his fame and talent to advocate a better future for the world's 800 million chronically hungry," said John Powell, deputy executive director of WFP's fundraising and communications department.

'Overcome the odds'
The Brazilian international has already asked WFP to organise a field visit to Angola, where the agency's projects are helping over one million former soldiers, refugees and internally-displaced people rebuild their lives. "I hope my own experience with São Paolo and AC Milan can inspire hungry children to believe they can overcome the odds and lead a normal life," said Kaká.

Milan magic
When Kaká left his native Sao Paolo in July 2003 to join AC Milan, few people outside Brazil had heard of the promising young talent despite his World Cup winners' medal. In his first season in Serie A Kaká excelled, scoring ten times in 30 league matches as Milan secured their 17th Scudetto. Not only that but the way he orchestrated his side's midfield with a skill that belied his youth earned comparisons with all-time great Michel Platini of France.

Illustrious contributors
Kaká is the youngest among several international sports stars who are donating their time and celebrity status to help WFP defeat global hunger. Other sportsmen supporting the agency include the world's fastest man over 26 miles, marathon record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya, cricket's record breaking wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka and former rugby World Cup-winning captains Nick Farr-Jones and David Kirk.

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An article in my local paper about Ricky...

Dec 2, 2004
Kaka's deed overlooked in hunger for news

Diouf, Becks steal headlines as samba star takes aim at world famine
By Rob Hughes

ON TUESDAY, one of the decent young men of world football committed himself to working against world famine.

Few of the media turned up at the San Siro in Milan for the inauguration of Kaka, the 22-year-old Brazilian, as the youngest United Nations Ambassador Against Hunger.

There is a sense of conscience about Kaka, and good looks too, that could make him football's equivalent to the late Princess Diana.

He even voiced a wish to go on a field visit to Angola. If AC Milan allow the trip, and if there's a place among the entourage, I'd be there... right behind him.

When you step out among the landmines, it is always best to let someone else lead.

But why, on a day when one of the world's emerging true talents does something truly worthwhile, did his initiative not make a paragraph in the newspapers where I live?

Because most British papers, tabloid and broadsheet, were still hammering away on the El-Hadji Diouf story.

Frankly, I wouldn't want to see, read or hear about Diouf for as long as it takes for him to grow up and stop spitting in the faces of opponents, in the eyes of children at the stadiums, and on the good name of the game that lifted him out of poverty in Senegal to easy riches in Europe.

Diouf can play. But he's behaving like a spoilt brat - or maybe just a Senegal version of Francecso Totti?.

Anyway, there is talk of getting Diouf to see a counsellor. There is namby-pamby talk of him coming from a different culture - which is alarmingly close to being a racist observation. Enough said on the villain - you can read all you want in other pages.

But back to Kaka.

He joins other sporting figures on the UN World Food Programme intended to halve by 2015 the estimated 800 million who are suffering starvation. Kaka - christened Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite - was never hungry.

His family in Brasilia were well off, and when he gave up tennis to join the Rivelino Soccer School in Sao Paulo, he was already in decent education.

Indeed, he gave his first big pay cheque to sending his younger brother to the best college in Sao Paulo.

But he has eyes, and, I said, a conscience. He saw the great divide in Sao Paulo, a city teeming with riches but overflowing with poverty.

He said on Tuesday that he first came up against hunger when he was training with Sao Paulo football club, and knew that some of those who came to watch could never afford a ticket to the stadium.

Others, he sensed, went home to nothing on the plate. If you've lived in Sao Paulo, and you move at 21 to Milan for a US$2 million-a-year (S$3.3 million) salary, you know the scary divide of the world's resources.

If, like Kaka, you've been spared a crippling injury after breaking your spine in a swimming pool accident four years ago, you are grateful even to be on your feet.

You don't have to look up with envy to the top of football's money tree. That was the other story keeping Kaka's world hunger campaign off the pages.

Dear David Beckham has, allegedly, £65 million (S$204.8 million) in his ***gy bank.

Let me just say, wow, and leave it at that.

Let me just add that Kaka is already a more complete footballer than Mr Posh Spice ever was.

He moved to Milan as an apprentice to two of the game's renowned play-makers, Rui Costa from Portugal and his countryman Rivaldo.

In the first season, he became the star; they often watched; and Rivaldo has been off-loaded to Olympiakos in Athens.

In his second season, Kaka is finding Serie A a little tougher. Coaches have studied his elegant runs from midfield, his habit of arriving late in the penalty box, his ability to raise the game of quite considerable world talents around him.

They've worked hard on cutting off his space; and he's working hard on evading double marking.

But still he's leaving his mark, still he's scoring with head, either foot or even thigh in the Champions League.

And still, he's only 22, the same age as the emerging Adriano in Brazil's 2006 World Cup prospective line up. Kaka, Adriano, Ronaldinho... and no reason why Ronaldo will not be there as well.

Small wonder the world gets drawn like a magnate to the Brazilians. And therefore it's brilliant, and vital, that somebody like Kaka cares for the world he's living in.

At 15, apparently, the sports scientists had to feed him and work him to build up a small, quick but easily tired physique so that his qualities could last the pace.

Now, at 1.8 metres and 73 kg, he has the necessary strength to make those startling overheads, those runs.

Again, I turn to my own country to show that there is a decent face of sport.

Gary Lineker, never sent off or even been shown a yellow card while he was England's god among goalscorers a dozen years ago, is still the voice, the face on BBC.

And he's mildly controversial because he does those advertisements for crisps - the new taboo in the global effort to stop kids getting fat on fast food.

He is, by and large, a genuine guy. He supports good causes, and he earns mega money promoting others.

But never, to my knowledge, did he offer to tread between the landmines in Angola for the sake of the dying children. Kaka is the ambassador for that.

'I hope', he said, 'that my own experience with Sao Paulo and AC Milan can inspire hungry children to believe they can overcome the odds and lead a normal life.'

It's some hope - but an example of conscience that deserves some headlines.

1,248 Posts
aim said:
Gabrielle, thanks for sharing this great article about our Kaka!:proud:
My pleasure...;) Am so proud of our Ricky :proud:

Siam venuti fin qua...siam venuti fin quaaaa..per vedere segnaree kakaaaaaaaaaa...oooooo...oooooo...ooooooo...oooooooo :dielaugh:

2,240 Posts
Gabrielle said:
My pleasure...;) Am so proud of our Ricky :proud:
Thank you! But, Ricky,ehr, remind me of another Ricky Martin...I'd prefer Kaka! :stuckup: So special just like himself :heart: :angel: !
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