'Football a platform for awareness'

FOOTBALL is more than just a game. It connects people and is a great platform to raise awareness around social issues such as health, education and children's rights.

This message was delivered by President Jacob Zuma and Fifa president Sepp Blatter at a Football for Hope Festival in Alexandra, northern Johannesburg, yesterday.

"This sport is enjoyed by the majority of the world. It must now add more to society," Zuma said.

Referring to the soccer game he played in at Cape Town's Greenpoint Stadium before the game between Germany and Argentina, Zuma said on Saturday: "We had a game with people whom we referred to as disabled. They are on the outside of society (and) yesterday we brought them back to be a part of us."

Blatter said, "football is a game based on discipline and respect. The aim of football is to connect people from around the world.

"That is why we bring together the disciplines to bring hope. We want people to play football, go to school and enjoy a healthy life."

Artists such as JR of Make the Circle Bigger, Danny K and Kabelo had the crowd and entertained.

Six-a-side teams representing countries that took part in this year's World Cup are competing in the festival.