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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

OFC's initiative to raise funds for tsunami affected areas in Western Solomons set up Fiji vs NZ XI this weekend

The tsunami that hit areas around Gizo in the Solomon Islands on the morning of 2 April 2007 literally sent shockwaves around the region. The disaster left more than 50 dead and thousands homeless. Disaster relief and rehabilitation continues to the present time in the area.

To raise funds for disaster relief and rehabilitation in the area the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Football for Life matches between Fiji and a New Zealand XI will provide a launch pad to help raise money to rebuild schools and hospitals in Gizo.

Two matches - scheduled for this Friday 10th August at Post Fiji Stadium, Suva, at 7:30pm Fijian Time and Sunday 12th August at Churchill Park, Lautoka, at 3:00pm Fijian Time - look set to be sold out on the back of the recent popularity of the OFC O-League.

OFC President and FIFA Vice-President Reynald Temarii is adamant that Football for Life can help restore the infrastructure of Western Solomon Islands and Choiseul Provinces.

"Football is many things to many people. It is above all an enduring symbol of human hope. It is only proper that the football family in the Oceania region has come together for the Football for Life matches between Fiji and New Zealand to raise funds for the recent tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands," Temarii said.

OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas said FIFA Ambassador Christian Karembeu would arrive in Fiji to help promote the cause and added the former FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner was enthusiastic to help where he could.

"Football for Life is an OFC initiative designed to bring the football family of Oceania closer together during a time of great need. Fiji FA and New Zealand Football deserve praise for their participation in these two matches for the people of Gizo. Christian Karembeu's presence further illustrates how far the tsunami has touched people all over the world. I am certain the football fans of Fiji will turn out in force to support this worthy cause and be rewarded with two exciting matches," OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas said.

Nicholas said football is a passion among the Solomon Islanders where it is the national sport and their skills and wizardry on the ball are greatly admired and it was important for the Confederation as a whole to show its support.

"Oceania is comprised entirely of islands and as an "island" Confederation we can all relate in some way to the plight of the Solomon Islands people in the affected regions. OFC, Fiji FA, NZF and all our partners have responded to the call for help eagerly. Football cannot replace the loss of life but it can help to rebuild schools, bridges, hospitals, houses and roads," Nicholas said.

OFC thanks its partners Fiji TV, Lotto, Ole, Vodafone and Vuksich and Borich who have thrown their backing behind Football for Life.

For fans in Fiji, OFC and Vodafone will run a Text and Win Competition with the winner claiming 2 airfares and 2 tickets to the Euro 2008 Final in Vienna, Austria, 29 June 2008. Other prizes include one of two Sony Playstation 3 consoles and copies of the FIFA 07 game, one of 10 Vodafone mobiles. Competitors may enter as many times as they like by texting "OFC" to 215. Texts cost 99 cents. Competition closes on 22 August 2007.

Proceeds from the OFC/Vodafone Text and Win Competition will be split amongst Tsunami victims and Vodafone's `Feed our Vatukoula Children' project in Fiji.

Fiji TV will carry live coverage of Football for Life throughout the region with the possibility of coverage being shown through SKY TV in New Zealand.

Source: OFC

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