Tuesday 19 March 2019

Drogba and Cafu go head-to-head in game with Special Olympics athletes

The pair were appearing at one of the 2019 World Games’ many Unified Sports Experiences.

Didier Drogba and Cafu participate in a Unified Sports Experience in Abu Dhabi (PA)
Didier Drogba and Cafu participate in a Unified Sports Experience in Abu Dhabi (PA)

By Max McLean, Press Association

Premier League legend Didier Drogba and World Cup hero Cafu played against each another in a unique match at the Special Olympics World Games to celebrate inclusion.

The game, which saw World Games athletes play alongside the football legends, was part of a series of Unified Sports Experiences in Abu Dhabi which are designed to promote inclusion and break down barriers.

Drogba, 41, was the first to join the game, and by the time Cafu, 48, arrived there were almost 250 international caps-worth of experience on the pitch.

Both players have won the Champions League – Drogba with Chelsea and Cafu with AC Milan – and both showed signs of their quality during the game.

At one point Drogba looked sure to spark a goal for his side, only for the double World Cup-winning Brazilian to make a tackle.

This was only the second of many Unified Sports Experiences planned during the Games, which involves athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“The importance is to show these kids how important they are in front of all society,” Cafu told the Press Association.

“I hope the inspiration will be for these kids who will have the opportunity to see me and Drogba together like this in the Special Olympics.

“I hope we can give great motivation to these kids.”

ipanews_106f4c85-f6ef-4b7f-8b9d-1754ac0ce5aa_embedded2005186
(Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019)

Drogba said: “Since I retired from football, this is the first time that I have played here in the UAE and it felt really good.

“I’m inspired by joining and meeting the Special Olympic athletes. This is a life lesson for me and they have chosen us to be in their team.

“Sports is so powerful for bringing people together. I want to say to everyone that we should all support People of Determination today and promote togetherness and tolerance.”

NFL stars will give an American football clinic during the Games, while Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix is set to give a sprint clinic as part of the initiative.

Great Britain meanwhile claimed their first gold medals of the Games the day after the opening ceremony, with Ciaran Kelly and the relay team triumphant in Dubai.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News