The Special Olympics is proud to announce an incredible roster of celebrities and football legends who will participate alongside 16 Special Olympics athletes in the inaugural match of the “Special Olympics Unity Cup” presented by Coca-Cola, at Cape Town Stadium just prior to a 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match on 3 July.
Participants will include:
- Zhang Ziyi, Chinese actress and Special Olympics Global Ambassador
- Dikembe Mutombo, NBA legend and Global Ambassador
- President Jacob G. Zuma, his Excellency, of South Africa
* Enrique Borja, Mexican striker for Mexican National team from 1966-1975
- Teofilo Cubillas, South American Player of the Year
* Desiree Ellis, former captain of South Africa’s National Women’s Football Team and FIFA Ambassador for 2010
* Lorrie Fair, first American women to play in Premier Women’s League and played on USA World Cup Championship Team in 1999
* Kevin Keegan, player and former coach of several football teams in England, and manager of Newcastle United
- Christian Kerembeu, player on France national team from 1992-2002 and on FIFA World Cup Championship team
- Hidetoshi Nakata, Asia Player of the Year, AC Roma
* Lucas Radebe, former Leeds and South African player; former South African National Football Team captain
- Clarence Seedorf, of AC Milan
* Alan Shearer, former New Castle United and all-time Premier League goal scorer
- Steve Sumner, former New Zealand ‘All Whites’ captain
Earlier this week, key members of the Unity Cup presented by Coca-Cola joined for a photo opportunity, as part of Special Olympics Global Congress that is currently being held in Marrakech, to celebrate this roster of celebrities and global football legends.
Those members included executives Timothy P. Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman & CEO and Muhtar Kent, Chairman Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company and SpeciaI Olympics International board member; as well as Unity Cup participants Ben Haack, Special Olympics’ Australia athlete and Clarence Seedorf, global footballer of AC Milan.
“We hope that worldwide fans of football who have tickets to the quarterfinal in Cape Town will head to the stadium early that Saturday (3 July) to watch these celebrities and our athletes take the field,” said Shriver. “Thanks to our global partner, Coca-Cola, we can turn the people’s attention to football not only as a sport, but as a powerful agent of change that can unite people with and without intellectual disabilities.”
From left to right: Muhtar Kent, Chairman Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company and SpeciaI Olympics International board member; and Unity Cup participants Ben Haack, Special Olympics’ Australia athlete (center) and Clarence Seedorf, global footballer of AC Milan (right). Photo credit: Diego Azubel.
The Special Olympics Unity Cup presented by Coca-Cola will be a 20-minute match held at 2:00 p.m. local time on 3 July, where these football legends and celebrities will take the field alongside Special Olympics athletes in an extension of the Special Olympics Unified Sports Program, which brings Special Olympics athletes together with partners without intellectual disabilities on teams for friendly athletic competition. The match will foster the message of inclusion and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities.
"We are excited to have such an accomplished group of football legends and celebrities join us to help bring attention to how football can unite people," said Kent. “The Unity Cup is a testament to that power as we have brought together our partners at Special Olympics and FIFA to shine a spotlight on the important values of understanding, acceptance and inclusion that we all share.”
Since the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, The Coca-Cola Company has been an Official Global Partner. Coca-Cola supports the movement in an effort to showcase the dignity and capacity of people with intellectual disabilities on a global stage.
For more information about the Unity Cup, please visit: www.specialolympics.org/unitycup.