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Drogba and Cafu go head-to-head in game with Special Olympics athletes

Drogba and Cafu go head-to-head in game with Special Olympics athletes
© Reuters
The pair were appearing at one of the 2019 World Games' many Unified Sports Experiences.

Premier League legend Didier Drogba and World Cup hero Cafu played against each another in a unique match at the Special Olympics World Games to celebrate inclusion.

The game, which saw World Games athletes play alongside the football legends, was part of a series of Unified Sports Experiences in Abu Dhabi which are designed to promote inclusion and break down barriers.

Drogba, 41, was the first to join the game, and by the time Cafu, 48, arrived there were almost 250 international caps-worth of experience on the pitch.

Both players have won the Champions League – Drogba with Chelsea and Cafu with AC Milan – and both showed signs of their quality during the game.

At one point Drogba looked sure to spark a goal for his side, only for the double World Cup-winning Brazilian to make a tackle.

This was only the second of many Unified Sports Experiences planned during the Games, which involves athletes with intellectual disabilities.

"The importance is to show these kids how important they are in front of all society," Cafu told the Press Association.

"I hope the inspiration will be for these kids who will have the opportunity to see me and Drogba together like this in the Special Olympics.

"I hope we can give great motivation to these kids."

Didier Drogba participates in a Unified Sports Experience in Abu Dhabi
(Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019)

Drogba said: "Since I retired from football, this is the first time that I have played here in the UAE and it felt really good.

"I'm inspired by joining and meeting the Special Olympic athletes. This is a life lesson for me and they have chosen us to be in their team.

"Sports is so powerful for bringing people together. I want to say to everyone that we should all support People of Determination today and promote togetherness and tolerance."

NFL stars will give an American football clinic during the Games, while Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix is set to give a sprint clinic as part of the initiative.

Great Britain meanwhile claimed their first gold medals of the Games the day after the opening ceremony, with Ciaran Kelly and the relay team triumphant in Dubai.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool98102171425
2Manchester CityMan City96122992019
3Leicester CityLeicester9522168817
4Chelsea95221914517
5Arsenal94321312115
6Crystal Palace9423810-214
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs93331513212
8Burnley93331211112
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd933387112
10Bournemouth93331313012
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham93331113-212
12Aston Villa93241513211
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves92521212011
14Manchester UnitedMan Utd9243109110
15Everton9315813-510
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9234912-39
17Southampton9225916-78
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9225514-98
19Norwich CityNorwich92161021-117
20Watford9045521-164

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