Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Footballers Doing Good

When all the press about footballers this time of the year seeming to focus on transfer fees and contract talks, it is good to see that some footballers using their stature to focus on more serious matters than the beautiful game. Manchester United's Ryan Giggs has been involved in UNICEF for nearly a decade and while in South Africa on tour with United, Giggs took time out to bring attention to the HIV epidemic in Africa.
Raw admiration is etched across Ryan Giggs' face. Phumzile, a young man living with HIV, has just produced a brief video diary detailing the road he has travelled since discovering his illness and overcoming the stigma attached to it – still a huge obstacle in South Africa – by revealing his status to his family.

Giggs sits alongside Phumzile in the spartan classroom of a comprehensive school in Gugulethu, a township 15km outside Cape Town. The Manchester United midfielder has met Nelson Mandela and witnessed some of football's greatest players at close hand, yet his facial expression when he turns to Phumzile at the end of his story betrays a humbled man in the presence of someone of true substance. "Seeing and hearing the lad's story showed what bravery is all about and what being a man is about," Giggs said. "He shared what he has been through and that took so much courage.
Quality stuff.

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