Spring 2003 (11.1)
Two Young Azeris in Soccer Match in Wales
Photos: Rahim Gozalov, 13, and Saleh Salayev,
12, from Azerbaijan were invited to Cardiff, Wales, as special
guests of the Welsh Football Fans' Charity organization. In addition
to the soccer match, the boys were entertained in the city. Truly,
they'll treasure these memories for a lifetime.
Two young soccer fans from a Baku orphanage had the experience
of a lifetime at a recent soccer match between Wales and Azerbaijan,
held in Cardiff on March 29. Saleh Salayev, 12, and Rahim Gozalov,
13, were given the honor of leading Azerbaijan's team onto the
field at the beginning of the sold-out match where 70,000 people
were in attendance.
Airline British Mediterranean, in conjunction with London-based
tour company Facts Travel, provided for the boys' flights between
Baku and South Wales. Their trip to Wales was organized and paid
for by Gôl, a humanitarian organization set up by Welsh
football fans. Gôl has also been involved with donating
money and sports kits to kids in Azerbaijani orphanages.
Dylan Llewelyn, Gôl Chairman,
observed: "Orphanages in Azerbaijan are home to more than
20,000 children. Not all are orphaned as such-many, like Saleh
and Rahim, have lost one parent and the remaining parent has
been unable to cope. The former Soviet state is poor by Western
standards and state backing for welfare projects is limited."
Paul Hibbs, senior sponsorship manager at Nationwide said: "It
is a great pleasure for us to donate our two team mascot places
to Saleh and Rahim. I'm sure that walking out in front of a full
house at the Millennium Stadium will be an experience that they
will never forget."
The Welsh team ended up defeating Azerbaijan, 4-0, winning easily
and achieving the fastest goal ever scored by a Welsh player
(14 seconds). This match was especially important in that it
was a qualifying match for the Euro 2004 Championships, which
will be held in Portugal next June. This tournament is the second
most important next to the World Cup. [To read more about soccer
in Azerbaijan, see Agshin Kazimzade's article "Great Moments
in Soccer" in AI 6.2 (Summer 1998).
The Welsh patrons have plans to further support the orphanages
on a more practical level by supplying recycled computers from
Wales. They hope to visit Baku again in the Autumn.
Back to Index AI 11.1 (Spring
| Search | Magazine
| AI Store | Contact us
Other Web sites
created by Azerbaijan International
AZgallery.org | AZERI.org | HAJIBEYOV.com