As the world await the 2014 FIFA World Cup to begin in Brazil in few hours time, Catholic’s Pope Francis has revealed what he wants from the football showpiece.
According to the head of world Catholics, he hopes the world cup which takes place once in four years will be played in a spirit of fraternity and fair play, and be a sign of solidarity among people.
The archbishop of Buenos Aires, who was a keen supporter of the San Lorenzo soccer club, made this statement in a video message in Portuguese he sent to fans and organisers in Brazil.
* Pope Francis, right, and Balotelli of Italy
The Argentine pope said that sport was not only a form of entertainment but, above all, a means to promote the good and build a more just, fraternal and peaceful society.
“My hope is that, besides being a sporting feast, the World Cup can become a feast of solidarity among peoples,” he said in the message.
“Sport is a school of peace. It teaches us to build peace.”
The pope is an honorary member of the club nicknamed the Saints of Boedo for the barrio where they were founded by a group of young men that included a priest in 1908.
Host country, Brazil will take to the field against Croatia in the opening match of the football showpiece.
Spain is the current defending champions and the Europeans are among bookmakers favourites to lift the trophy in Brazil come 13 July, 2014.
* Pope Francis
Others tipped to win the 20th edition of the Mundial are Brazil, Germany and Italy.
Nigeria’s best performance in the world cup was second round finishes in 1994 and 1998.
In 2010 in South Africa, the Super Eagles were ousted in the group phase.