Leading sports stars from the world of football and rugby have been given a masterclass in how to play board games by a group of talented and determined 7 and 8 year old children.
The stars including England footballers Harry Kane and Chris Smalling, along with All Blacks Dan Carter, Ben Franks and Charlie Faumuina joined forces for a humorous video for UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation.
The sketch sees the players compete against kids in a variety of classic games, humorously taking on the challenge as seriously as they’d take on an international game, feeling the pressure throughout and victoriously celebrating when they manage a win, much to the disappointment of the children. But after a tense battle to the finish the children eventually come out on top, leaving the players in despair.
The stars from England Football Foundation (EFF) and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) came together to film the short sketch illustrating the importance of UNICEF’s response in an emergency and the three things that matter most when helping children at risk; precision, response time and team work.
Children are hardest hit in an emergency and many face losing their families, their homes, their schools and even their lives. UNICEF supports more children than anyone else and are on the ground all over the world providing life-saving food, clean water, warm blankets and protection from violence, exploitation and abuse.
England Footballer, Chris Smalling, explains: "It was a lot of fun to get together with Harry and challenge the children to some board games. Of course, we took it as seriously as we take every game and wanted to win!
“The children gave us a good run for our money and we were definitely put to the test. We’re really proud to support Unicef and to highlight their work in keeping-children across the world safe from harm.”
All Blacks player, Dan Carter, says: "I’ve got some good experience of playing these games thanks to my own children so I felt pretty confident. The children certainly didn’t give us an easy time but we battled on!
“It was important to come together in this film and highlight just how important Unicef’s work is.”
Unicef UK Executive Director, David Bull, said: "We’re incredibly grateful that England footballers and New Zealand Rugby stars came together to highlight the grave danger children face in emergencies.
“During war and natural disasters, when lives get turned upside down, three things matter most when protecting children; precision, response time and team work. Right now, 1 in 10 children live in areas affected by armed conflict, and last year children made up more than half of those affected by natural disasters. So we must act now to reach every child in danger.
“The sketch aims to raise awareness of Unicef’s work for children in emergencies in more than 190 countries across the world.”
The sketch also forms part of Unicef’s Winter Campaign which is focused on child protection in emergencies.