England stars join malaria fight

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Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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England’s leading footballers have teamed up with children’s charity Unicef to tackle their toughest opponent and help in the fight against malaria.

Instead of trying to find the back of the net England captain Wayne Rooney, goalkeeper Joe Hart, defender Gary Cahill and midfielder Jack Wilshere – as part of the England Footballers Foundation (EFF) – are fronting a campaign to promote the use of mosquito nets.

Malaria is the biggest killer of children under five in Africa and the third biggest globally. The poorest, most vulnerable children are in the greatest danger, but sleeping under a mosquito net can provide life-saving protection.

Rooney said: “It’s unbelievable that every 90 minutes – the time it takes to play a football match – 180 children will lose their lives to malaria. As captain of the England football team I am hugely proud that we are able to help Unicef in its goal of protecting every child in danger from this disease.”

Hart said: “I am used to defending my goal net against some of the best players in the world, but for some children, being able to sleep under a life-saving mosquito net can mean the last line of defence from this deadly disease.

“I have always been a huge fan of Unicef’s work so it’s really amazing that through our foundation we can help make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

The campaign kicked off with the launch of a poster featuring the footballers alongside children from William Shrewsbury Primary School, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire.

England players including Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will manage football teams competing for the EFF Charity Cup during a fundraising event in London on Thursday.

Unicef UK’s executive director David Bull said: “The simplest way to keep children safe from malaria is to ensure that they sleep under a mosquito net, but many are still living without this basic life-saving need. The faces of the England football team are some of the most recognisable in the country so it is great to have them on board to help us raise awareness to tackle malaria and protect all those children in danger.”

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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