The belief that football can be an effective tool to change our societies is increasingly a reality through the way of life of many African footballers.
In Africa, many players undertake to address the challenges of their immediate community via charity projects or donations with the sole purpose of driving investment in grassroots development in Africa, the footballers aim to touch lives and the less privileged members of society.
Here I present five African footballers plying their trade abroad but who have gone out of their way to impact the lives of their local communities in their home countries.
Egyptian midfielder cum striker Mohamed Salah who plays for Liverpool at club level recently donated oxygen cylinders and an ambulance to his home village in Nagrig to help fight the pandemic.
The donations were delivered in January 2021 through his Mohamed Salah Charity Foundation.
Salah has also contributed to the building of an Al Azhar Complex in his Egypt home.
Al-Azhar is a Cairo-based institution that encompasses Egypt’s oldest degree-granting University, a prestigious Mosque, and a network of over 4000 teaching institutes nationwide.
The project houses an institute and an ambulance unit,
The facilities have been a blessing to his hometown locals who are now spared the burden of travelling long distances to access the facilities.
The ex-Tottenham player Victor Wanyama is setting up a multi-million Sports Academy in his native home village of Nambale in Busia County. Standing on a 20-acre piece of land, the centre will include modern facilities suitable for different sporting disciplines, not just football.
An update by the foundation termed the academy as a private organization dedicated to education, research, and innovation in collaboration with our students, governments, business, and industry, along with tangible benefits to individuals, society, and the economy at large.
Additionally, Wanyama is also engaged in activities aimed at improving housing and uplift the needy communities through shelter and school fees provision via his foundation.
That Sadio Mane abounds in acts of altruism and charity is a statement that people back in Senegal have not only heard but witnessed too.
Mane has helped establish a number of social amenities in Senegal. He has financed the building of a hospital and he is funding the construction of a school at the cost of €270,000.
The striker frequently visits the project while on holiday. Sadio Mane also donates football kits and gives away money to families in dire need.
Crystal Palace fast-paced winger Wilfried Zaha recently traded England for Ivory Coast at the international level. The big-hearted Ivorian generously donates 10 percent of his monthly income to charity activities back home. He regularly donates to Tomorrow’s Hope, his sister’s orphanage that helps provide shelter, education, and a positive environment for orphans and destitute children.
The Super Eagles captain and prolific striker has constructed a multi-million Sports complex in the state of Kaduna, Nigeria. The facility contains football pitches, a tennis court, swimming pools, and restaurants among other amenities.
The facility is the second one of its kind to be built by the former Leicester City Star after a similar one was completed in the Kano region. Musa has also been instrumental in supporting grassroots football in the troubled Jos Plateau region as a way of fostering a harmonious coexistence between the two warring communities.
Musa also offers scholarships and has sponsored over 100 students in their quest for higher education across the country.