I strongly disagree. I grew up in uganda as an expat's kid (age 1-15). I used to play everyday with a lot of kids in the neighborhood. I was the only one with an actual fifa ball and they always waited for me with giddy eyes to show up on the local grounds despite having their own ingenious banana bark and kavera (plastic bag) balls.
I made sure to give each one of them a ball when i left and most of them still treasured them when i went back a year ago.
Sometimes it's not about a warm and fuzzy feeling. You have to see first hand how these kids live.
I grew up in India and totally agree. Sure, playing with friends is what made it fun. But it was always better to play with durable toys. Nothing kills fun faster than a torn rubber ball during a game of cricket.
Happy kids doesn't equal good aid. Are those footballs helping to improve the long term living conditions of those kids? If we have money and resources to help the developing world, assuming that actually is our goal, then shouldn't we strive to find interventions that actually have lasting impact?
Uh no. The goal of good aid/development is to help countries develop their economies, infrastructure and institutions so that people have access to education, healthcare and decent paying jobs... and are enabled to pursue their own ideas of happiness... rather than settle for a free football
Handing out money to kids would make them happy too, but would also not be good aid