São Paulo – Former Brazilian national team player Cafu (pictured, on the right), who was captain of the team that brought home Brazil’s fifth world title in 2002, was announced this Friday (21) as ambassador of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) on the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. “I think the legacy Qatar will leave to the world is fantastic. Everything they are doing and will do in terms of donations to other countries that aren’t as equipped as Qatar has really surprised me. That made it much easier for me to accept the invitation to become ambassador,” Cafu told ANBA during the announcement ceremony in São Paulo. The other 2022 World Cup ambassadors are Xavi Hernández of Spain, Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, and former pro tennis player Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari of Qatar.
SC secretary-general Hassan Al Thawadi (pictured, on the left), welcomed the former Brazilian player on behalf of the 2022 World Cup staff. “Cafu is a soccer legend. He was a world champion, and in his off-field social work he represents many of the values we are working with in Qatar. We are impressed by his commitment and dedication to bringing hope and opportunity to the underprivileged,” the secretary-general said.
The former player has been to Qatar several times over the last few months. “They are preparing an amazing World Cup,” said Cafu, who was surprised with Qatar in many different ways. “Everything is completely different from the world us South Americans live in. Qatar is really growing, and our job is to make sure people aren’t afraid of going to Qatar. It’s a peaceful, safe, welcoming country. They are very receptive of tourists, and I am very glad that it’s so. I hope we can bring many more people to Qatar,” he concluded.
Cafu will work on several projects, especially doing work with the Josoor Institute (or Bridge Institute), whose job it is to put in place academic, vocational and training courses for the upcoming generations of pro athletes. “I will work much more actively in social projects. They want to learn how to go about it from me, since I am very experienced in this. For over 15 years now, my foundation has worked with 950-plus children, so we have the experience to relay to them,” he told ANBA, in a reference to Fundação Cafu, which he established and which caters to children, youth and adults in São Paulo’s Jardim Irene neighborhood, where he was born and raised.
Social projects being developed for the Qatar Cup include Challenge 22, a Middle East innovation and culture prize designed to attract entrepreneurs and scientists to the Arab countries. The Generation Amazing initiative uses sports to reach out to young people and enable sustainable social development in communities. This Friday, Cafu will join a Generation Amazing event at the São Paulo Soccer Museum.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum