Footballing Legend Set to Inspire Youth At Pacific Youth & Sports Conference


FIFA World Cup winner and former Real Madrid star Christian Karembeu has today arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, and will play a major role in this week’s inaugural Pacific Youth and Sports Conference (PYASC).

Karembeu assesses his options during a jubilee match in 2008

Hailing from Lifou in New Caledonia, Karembeu enjoyed a glittering 18-year career that included 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000 successes with France, and two UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid.

Karembeu will be involved in the traditional Maori Powhiri on Monday morning before speaking the following day on the topic of fair play.

Organised by Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) together with the Manukau City Council, the PYASC conference will bring together hundreds of 16-25 year olds from across the Pacific region to interact and address youth-related issues with a specific focus on sport.

Tai Nicholas, OFC General Secretary and PYASC Chairman, believes the two-time Oceania Player of the Year will provide plenty of inspiration for young people who attend the event.

“Karembeu has an amazing story. From humble beginnings growing up in New Caledonia, he went on to reach the pinnacle of his sport and played at the top level for almost two decades,” says Nicholas.

“Since retiring, Karembeu has actively served as an ambassador for the game, showing that the power of football can be used to help those less privileged. We are delighted he can attend the conference and look forward to hearing his powerful message.”

Although based in Europe, Karembeu says his Pacific roots are extremely important to him.

“I played for France and won many medals and I am proud of the team and what we achieved together. But I am also Oceanian, born in the South Pacific, and it is logical for me to acknowledge this part of my heritage and speak to young people about my experiences so that hopefully they can be inspired to achieve their dreams,” says Karembeu.

Consisting of workshops, seminars and roundtables, the Pacific Youth and Sports Conference aims to establish action plans that will increase participation of young people in society through sport and build stronger networks between youth associations, government institutions and sports organisations.

To download the complete programme [English] click here

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