The title “Defenders” highlights the film’s main awareness-raising message. Kalidou Koulibaly, himself a defender on the soccer pitch, concludes at the end: “In conflict, we must all defend the most vulnerable.” He refers to international humanitarian law (IHL) without explicitly naming it.
Who are the real champions?
The film is aimed at a predominantly young, football-loving audience, particularly those who carry arms in Africa. To better reach them, the central idea is to convey the message of restraint in armed conflicts through expressions specific to soccer. Later in the film, Kalidou Koulibaly speaks to the young “hero”, who understands the message better and better, and acts accordingly: “Champions are made when it really counts!”, he tells him to stop a fellow soldier from attacking a young woman and her little brothers. And for having respected the rules, once the fight was over, he congratulated him as follows: ” No foul, no red card! “
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