Top football stars Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane are all set to play in the ninth edition of an annual match against poverty Dec 13 in Hamburg, with most of the proceeds going towards addressing food crisis in the Horn of Africa, a UNDP statement released here Tuesday said.
The Horn of Africa comprises Somalia, Eriteria, Djibouti and Ethiopia and of these, the first named has been without a functional government for long. The World Food Programme estimates that some 10 million people in the region are in dire need due to famine, drought, conflict and high food prices.
"Ronaldo and Zidane will gather a team of other famous soccer players for a friendly game against an all-star side from German team Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV)," the statement said.
"As goodwill ambassadors for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the duo have been the driving force behind the annual match since its inception in 2003," it added.
The annual event seeks to mobilize the public to fight against poverty and promote action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - eight internationally-agreed goals which seek to end extreme poverty worldwide by 2015, said the statement.
"I am proud of the success of this cause and very honoured that clubs such as HSV have offered to host the event," said Ronaldo, who recently retired from professional football.
For Zidane, the match is much more than a game, its part of the "global fight against poverty".
"Through the 2011 edition in Hamburg we hope we will be able to raise both awareness and funds for the people in need in the Horn of Africa," said Zidane.
As per UNDP, two-thirds of the match proceeds will be used to bolster humanitarian and recovery activities in the Horn of Africa.
HSV will donate the remaining 33 percent of the event's profits to the club's initiative, Der Hamburger Weg (The Hamburg Way), to promote corporate social responsibility among its sponsors/partners and to support diverse community development projects focused on sports, youth, education and protection of the environment.
Proceeds from the previous eight matches have benefited projects in more than 27 developing countries, including recent recovery efforts in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.