FIFA and the Japan Football Association (JFA) have offered their support to Cafu after the former Brazil captain announced plans to organise a charity match for victims of the recent earthquake in Japan.
On 11 March this year, the east coast of Japan was hit by an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, a disaster which left tens of thousands of victims in its wake. For Cafu, news of the event left him determined to respond, the right-back having never forgotten the country’s incredible welcome during the 2002 FIFA World Cup™.
“We have to do something,” he told those close to him after news of the tragedy broke. Nine years have passed since Cafu raised the FIFA World Cup Trophy in tears at Yokohama Stadium on 30 June 2002, and the Sao Paulo native quickly seized on the idea of holding a charity match. “The people there have just lived through a disaster and I want to help these individuals in distress. That’s why we’re organising this football match in Japan – to give back some of the joy the country gave us in 2002.”
A date has yet to be set, but the encounter will feature a team composed of Brazil and Germany veterans from the 2002 Final – including Cafu – and a Rest of the World line-up containing current and retired stars. “We were delighted with the ambitious initiative that Cafu submitted to FIFA,” stated FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “We’ll help to organise the match, hopefully in Yokohama, where the Final was held in 2002. FIFA is happy and proud and has agreed in principle.”
Also lending their backing will be the JFA. “Speaking for the JFA, I would like to thank Cafu, the FIFA President, the football family and FIFA for this gesture and the proposal of help,” said JFA General Secretary Kohzo Tashima. Meanwhile, the slogan for the match will be ‘Together for Japan’, reflecting the idea that it will not so much pit one team against another as show the strength of the football family’s solidarity and unity in the face of such disasters.
“We’ll never be able to thank you enough,” added Tashima. “The Japanese people will be very grateful for an initiative like this which ought to help them overcome this terrible challenge. We can feel football’s strength and its capacity to unite people. Our own citizens will respond by showing their strength to overcome this disaster.”