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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 March 2019

Drogba expresses himself through football at Special Olympics

The former Chelsea striker played a match that included Brazilian World Cup winner Cafu in the opposition at the Zayed Sports City on Friday

Didier Drogba, the former Chelsea and Marseille striker, revealed that football gave him the confidence to express himself at the Special Olympics World Games.

The Ivory Coast’s leading scorer participated in a unified match that included Brazilian World Cup winner Cafu in the opposition at the Zayed Sports City on Friday.

“Some of the kids were saying they felt great and got more confident when they were playing,” said Drogba.

“Even me, I was an introvert before I started playing football. Sports helped me express my feelings and emotions. It helped me a lot. That’s what’s happening to these athletes.

“These players are very competitive. The energy and atmosphere is amazing. We had great fun and we are together, and that’s what this event is all about.”

The highlight of Drogba’s career was playing 105 international games for his country from 2002 to 2014, as well as making 226 appearances for the English Premier League club Chelsea from 2004 to 2012.

Drogba is one of the ambassador for the Special Olympics World Games and said he supported the event wholeheartedly.

“Can you imagine what they were doing 50 years ago, when we didn’t have TV and quality playing fields,” he asked.

“We didn’t have so many things for these kids to be part of us. And today, they are not only part of us but we are also part of them.

“When you see all this and they invite me to play and to be one of them, this is wonderful. That’s why we need to support and encourage the Special Olympics.

“The facilities that I have seen here are some of the best, if not the best. The only thing I can compare it to are the World Cup and the Olympics,” he said.

Drogba supported the UAE’s Year of Tolerance and sent his condolences to the bereaved families of the killings of 49 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday.

“Tolerance is one of the most important things. When you want to live together that’s the first thing you learn when you play sports, both individual and collective sports,” he said.

“When you play sports you have to always respect your teammates, your opponents, and respect the referee. We are humans and we make mistakes, but we live together.

“This is the message I want to send and all my condolences to the people in New Zealand and Ethiopia.”

Updated: March 16, 2019 10:24 AM

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