It is one of the goals of FFAV to provide a safe and healthy playground for children. This includes, of course, the right nutrition. When the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) introduced us to the ONE GOAL nutrition campaign for Asia, it was no question for us, if we would like to be a part of this.

For the development of young children, nutrition is a huge factor, especially if they want to lead a sportive and active life. However, all over Asia are millions of children suffering from malnutrition. This is why AFC and ONE GOAL have joined together with other partners to ignite an international movement. With football as the catalyst to communicate across borders, ONE GOAL aspires to be a simple, powerful campaign that will mobilize and inspire the community of over 1.4 billion football fans in Asia to take decisive action through awareness, viral messaging, donations and advocacy activities - to increase the number of children in Asia who survive and thrive.

For a first introduction of this campaign to FFAV football clubs, ONE GOAL ambassadors -- former Liverpool FC great Steve McMahon and Vietnam's Golden Ball winner Do Thi Ngoc Cham -- visited club players at Phu Bai secondary school in Huong Thuy town, and a local nutrition club on 20 March. 

Children had already started their regular training session when ONE GOAL's ambassadors arrived, but Mr. McMahon and Ms. Cham were eager to join the training. Mr. McMahon facilitated a short exercise on agility and Ms. Cham kicked off her shoes for a demonstration on ball control. 

Ms. Cham is happy to be an example for both women's football and nutrition: “When coming to any sports event, for example football, most participants are boys but today Phu Bai secondary school has showed the difference. I can see an equal number of boys and girls playing football together happily without any discrimination. This is the model that I really want to promote and I do hope that the ONE GOAL campaign will reach every child not only in Hue but in different provinces so the children will be more aware of women football and nutrition in football to stay healthy throughout their whole life with football.”

After the training session, the children clubs members and guests gathered in the school’s hall to hear a short introduction to the ONE GOAL campaign. Mr. McMahon and Ms. Cham spoke about the role of nutrition in football and sports. They also shared their life stories, from starting as a little kid with nothing but passion for football to the point where they were selected to play for their respective national teams. They encouraged their young listeners to pursue their dreams and to stay active and have fun up to old age. FFAV is really happy to have had two such great role models visiting the children, and with such an important message.

Mr. McMahon said of his experience: “It is very humbling to see the environment [the children] live in, the playing field, the equipment. Unbelievable to see the smiles on their faces, how they enjoy themselves. But we [ONE GOAL] want to improve that.” From his own experience he knows how extremely important nutrition is for playing sports and, in general, for leading a healthy life. “As a youngster, I was spent and out after 60 minutes. I was nearly falling over because I wasn’t eating the right foods.” The right mix and timing for eating carbohydrates and proteins is essential to maximizing the body’s abilities. To perform better in life, parents and children must learn to eat the right food at the right time.

FFAV thanks ONE GOAL and ambassadors for their message and visit to motivate future footballers in Phu Bai Secondary school. 2014 will be an important year for nutrition in Asia and FFAV will be happy to participate and support this important issue for children’s lives. 

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Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV) is an initiative developed between the Football Association of Norway (NFF) and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) that works with grassroots football development for children using football as a tool to integrate life skills education. FFAV works to develop children’s non-competitive grassroots football in primary and secondary schools with a special focus on marginalized groups.