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Drogba joins Match Against Poverty


Chelsea FC striker Didier Drogba is the latest famous name to sign up to play in the UEFA-backed 12th Annual Match Against Poverty in Saint-Etienne, France, on 20 April.

Didier Drogba, Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane
Didier Drogba, Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane ©Witters/UNDP

Chelsea FC forward Didier Drogba has joined a stellar cast of both active and retired international footballers who will take part in the UEFA-backed 12th Annual Match Against Poverty at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, France, on Monday 20 April.

Drogba, who like Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane is also a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador, will team up with the duo and other football luminaries for a game against an AS Saint-Étienne all-star team to help boost Ebola recovery efforts.

UNDP will receive two-thirds of the match proceeds, which will go towards helping the hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone build back better from the epidemic, while the remaining third will benefit the host club's Association ASSE Coeur-Vert which supports social projects in Saint-Etienne.

"I am honoured to support the people of the three countries who are trying to get through the devastation caused by the Ebola epidemic, and I encourage everyone to pull together to end this crisis and to prevent it ever happening again," said Drogba, who will participate in the event for the second time. "I am also thrilled to be with Ronaldo, Zidane and all the other players to make a difference in the fight against Ebola."

The players already signed up, together with Drogba, for the Ronaldo, Zidane & Friends team are: Cafu, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin van der Sar, Éric Abidal, Christian Karembeu, Youri Djorkaeff and Fabien Barthez. Former and current St-Étienne players will comprise the All Stars team, with 13 attendees confirmed up to now: Alex, Jérémie Janot, Pascal Feindouno, Dominique Rocheteau, Lionel Potillon, Ľubomír Moravčík, Laurent Paganelli, Bjørn Tore Kvarme, Efstathios Tavlaridis, Sébastien Perez, Stéphane Pédron, Julien Sablé and Laurent Batlles.

Present-day Les Verts coach Christophe Galtier will manage the home side. Former FIFA referee Pierluigi Collina will take charge of the game. More famous international and St-Étienne names are expected to get involved in the coming days.

Ronaldo, Zidane and the UNDP have been the key figures behind the Match Against Poverty since the opening edition in 2003. Eleven successful matches have been staged in Basel, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Malaga, Fez, Lisbon, Athens, Hamburg, Porto Alegre and Berne. Each year, the funds raised aid specific projects in different countries dealing with difficult challenges.

Ticket prices range from €8 to €12, and are on sale online and at ticket counters at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

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