The World Health Organisation has announced football legend Didier Drogba as its new Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health.
Drogba will promote WHO’s top tips on how physical activity can lead to a healthier and happier life, and also highlight the value of sports, particularly for the youth.
The Ivorian striker is best known for his long and record-setting career at Chelsea Football Club, and for having been named African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009.
Drogba, who is the all-time top scorer of the Ivory Coast national team, has a long track record off the pitch, of participating in various campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria campaigns, and HIV prevention and control.
During the announcement of his new role, in Geneva, Drogba said he was honoured to team up with WHO and “support its work to help people reach the highest level of health possible, especially young people in all countries.
“I have benefited first-hand from the power of sports to lead a healthy life and I am committed to working with WHO to share such gains worldwide.”
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, hailed Drogba as “a proven champion and game changer both on and off the pitch.”
“We are pleased to have him playing on our team, and helping communities worldwide reach and score goals through sports for their physical and mental health and well-being,” he said, stressing that the athlete’s support can help curb the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
According to the WHO chief, Drogba will also support the mobilisation of the international community to “promote sports as an essential means for improving the physical, mental health and social well-being of all people, including in helping COVID-19 recovery efforts.”
Drogba’s announcement as a WHO goodwill ambassador was made during a ceremony to launch the Healthy 2022 World Cup – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health.
The initiative is a partnership between Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and its Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, WHO and world football’s governing body, FIFA, to promote sports during next year’s World Cup in Qatar.