RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – (By Anthony Harwood) He joins fellow soccer stars Xavi Hernandez, Samuel Eto’o, and Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari as ambassadors for the 2022 World Cup.
Cafu competed in four World Cups between 1994 and 2006 and is the only footballer to have played in three consecutive World Cup finals, winning in 1994 and 2002.
He said: “It is an honor and a privilege to officially become part of the team to deliver the World Cup in Qatar.”
The World Cup has played a dominant role in Cafu’s life, some may say even from birth. Cafu was born during the famous 1970 World Cup game between Brazil and England.
“From dreams of playing as a small child to getting the chance to represent my nation, to the ultimate honor – winning the World Cup – it has always been my passion.”
Cafu’s new role will include working with Qatar’s “Generation Amazing” project which so far has reached 500,000 people in disadvantaged parts of the world such as Nepal, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, the Philippines, and India.
The scheme hopes to benefit a million young people through engaging them in sport by the time the tournament kicks off in three and a half years – as did the Cafu Foundation which was set up in his hometown of Jardim Irene in São Paolo.
He said: “During my time as a player – and since then in retirement – I have also witnessed the game’s unique power to educate, inspire and provide outlets for underprivileged people, no matter where you are from in the world.”
And he adds: “There are many parallels between this and work that the SC (Qatar Supreme Committee) is doing through Josoor and also other programs such as Generation Amazing. So to combine this kind of work with the next World Cup in Qatar, and the work I have done in the past, it really does feel a perfect fit for me.”
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee, said: “We are delighted to welcome Cafu to our team. His legendary status and the legacy he leaves behind from his on-field activities are clear for all to see. But what is equally impressive to us is the work, commitment, and dedication he has shown towards using his profile to deliver genuine hope and opportunity to the underprivileged. I look forward to working alongside him up to beyond Qatar 2022.”
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international men’s association football championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA.
It will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world and the first in a Muslim-majority country.