Thursday 10 June 2021, 07:11

Living Football | Episode 8 

  • Isha Johansen talks about her rise to the top of football administration

  • Lithuanian legend Edgaras Jankauskas looks ahead to the FIFA Futsal World Cup

  • FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff reflects on the inaugural Campus event in Armenia

In March, African football elected a new President, as well as members of the FIFA Council. Isha Johansen, Sierra Leone Football Association President since 2013 – and one of the few women in the world to have headed a national football association – was one of them.

In Episode 8 of Living Football, she explains her football journey, from starting her own club in 2004 to seeking to provide guidance and opportunities to children whose lives had been disrupted by civil war.

“Society is not really ready for women in governance and leadership in football,” she told presenter Jessica Libbertz. “But change has started. I don’t want to be a token number. For most women, we want fair play in our industry. I’m a woman who can challenge, and be challenged.”

In September, the ninth edition of the FIFA Futsal World Cup™ will be held in Lithuania. One of the football legends responsible for deciding the fate of the 24 qualified teams at last month’s draw was Edgaras Jankauskas.

The only Lithuanian to have ever won the UEFA Champions League, he talked to Draw Presenter Samantha Johnson about the preparations for the event and how much people are looking forward to see action after it was heavily disrupted by COVID-19.

Wrapping up Episode 8 is FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff, who reflected on the inaugural FIFA Foundation Campus Programme, a new global initiative that gives girls and boys from under-privileged backgrounds the opportunity to play football and develop their personal and social learning in a safe environment. The first Campus pilot event was held in Yerevan, Armenia.

“We had children with disabilities who, at the beginning, they were set apart a little," said the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™ winner. "But as soon as we all started playing football, there was no difference. Everyone was playing together.

"They’re part of a family that we try to create. 80 per cent of the children had never played football before. By the end, they all wanted to join clubs.”