Playing a soccer: philosopher’s stone of friendship

Mar 16, 2018

Credit: Mavliuda Dzhaparova

The social integration using sport activities for youth living in the border zone has become a successful strategy in many countries of the world, because the passion for football has unique ability to blur the boundaries in communication between people.

With the support of UNDP project “Cross-border cooperation for sustainable peace and development”, funded by funded by UN Peacebuilding Fund and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, sport is becoming a means of creating new initiatives to team up the youth residing in the border of the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan.

Last year, there was held an official opening of the soccer field in Chon-Tala village of Batken oblast. The place of construction of the new sports ground was chosen purposefully. Chon-Tala village is in the border area between the Kyrgyz Republic and Lakkon village of the Republic of Tajikistan. The local self-government, respected seniors and youth initiative groups attended the event. Deputy Akim of Batken rayon self-government Taalaybek Ibraimov and the head of Tort-Kul Ayil Okmot Israjdin Eraliev expressed their confidence that eminent athletes will grow among the younger generation of these border villages of both countries, who will glorify the neighboring countries in future.

It should be noted, that the idea of building a mini-soccer field appeared in 2015, but due to lack of funds in local self-government, they couldn’t make it. Today the sports facility is installed on the territory of a 1500 sq.m. The constructed mini-soccer field is located right text to sports ground with an area of 1144 sq. m., equipped with special sports outfits for exercising and physical training. The total cost of the project is 46,116 USD. As it was mentioned by the young deputy member of Chon-Tala village and the representative of the local youth Anvar Oytemirov, this project became possible thanks to the initiative and active participation of the young people who live in the two neighboring villages, support of the LSG and the UNDP project.

“We took part in the construction of this soccer field and were very much looking forward to its opening. We often gathered together with residents of Lakkon village to play football, but we did not have a field and played just on a stony wasteland, where it was difficult to avoid injuries. Now we have a real soccer field, which, I'm sure, will gather us even more often,” says Anvar.

“The youth of this border neighborhood are quite active and often initiates joint activities with residents from Lakkon village of Tajikistan. We only create environments so that such uniting initiatives would take place even more,” said UNDP specialist Sarvar Turdiboyev.

The big event ended with a friendly match between Chon-Talaa village and Lakkon village who were invited to the opening of the soccer field.

“I live in a neighboring village, which is only 300 meters away from a new soccer field, but this is already the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan. This sports ground is the closest one to us, even from those that we have in Tajikistan. It has always been easier for us to get together to play with our Kyrgyz friends for leisure, when we are done with our fieldwork, now we will meet more often. I would like to see that in the future we created one strong common soccer team,”- joyfully shares the resident of Lakkon village Shodiev Abduvokhid.

We want to believe that this sports ground will contribute to the creation of that strong united team of bordering youth, connected by sport, common views and goals for achieving peace and sustainable development in the region.

Mavliuda Khodzhaeva, UNDP Communications Specialist, Osh/Batken Area Based Development Programme

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