Ever wondered what a cycling critical mass of students has in common with a professional football freestyler born in Guinea?
At first sight - apart from people using round objects for different purposes - not much!
Undoubtedly, Iya Traore is currently the most wanted football freestyler on the planet. He attracts and entertains thousands of people, young and old, tourists and locals, live or on French's got talent. Wherever he puts on his show and demonstrates his unbelievable skills, Iya Traore puts a spell on any spectator and raises awareness galore. In this respect, we found our first match. Ride for your Rights! was intiated to raise awareness and to be seen. Clearly we'd have to do handstands on our bicycles in order to achieve similar results but with a little help of everyone we can gather enough young Europeans who want to be seen and heard.
Our second match can be found when comparing the reasons behind 'the show'. In his biography Iya tells his fans that he had to stop playing for Paris Saint Germain at the top of his career because Iya had to support his father and pursue his studies. Despite these obstacles in his personal life, "With a positive attitude, Iya decided to keep on playing football, but in an original way." His eagerness to make it to the top has rewarded him with holding the Guinness World Record, various invitations to TV shows around the world and even having played for former president Jacques Chirac. So what does Iya do with all the fame? Iya has understood his function as a role model for the youth and he continues passing on his skills and knowledge to youngsters at his own football camps and at his football club back home in Guinea. In brevity, Iya shares his passion and skills for a good reason - he wants to cause a change and help those in need for better conditions.
Ride for your Rights! wishes Iya all the best in the future and is looking forward to meeting him again one day in Paris or maybe even in Guinea.
PS: On a personal note, when I first met Iya and asked him whether he would like to support Ride for your Rights! I had no idea about his popularity. Only after he had done his show for us and I had looked him up on the web and learnt about his fame, I was truly awestruck at first, then felt extremely honoured, and finally I was full of enthusiasm once again that Ride for your Rights! has great potential for reaching our own goals in Europe.