There are many African footballers who have a strong philanthropic spirit, and who do a great deal for communities around Africa through various foundations and charitable acts or events. AFKSports looks at a list of footballers past and present who have given back to others thanks to the fame and fortune that came with football.
Source: Goal, Forbes.
The Ivorian striker is well known for his activities to give back to communities in his homeland, but he has gone above and beyond the typical activities by opening the first of five hospitals that he will inaugurate this year. The new facility is in Abidjan, with a further four planned in Yamoussoukro, San Pedro, Man and Korhogo.
The former Bafana Bafana and Leeds United captain is a player who displays a social conscience in many facets of society. He is a FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children’s Villages, while being involved with the Starfish organisation, Reach for a Dream Foundation and acting as the Hospice Palliative Care Association ambassador for South Africa. He is also on the Special Olympics board as an ambassador.
The former Egyptian international is very popular in North Africa. He has played in the ‘Match Against Poverty’ with 40 other international stars to raise funds as part of a UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors programme, while always making himself available for other charity appearances. He is involved in various Public Service Announcements as an official WSP Ambassador for Hunger, helping to attract attention and raise money for anti-hunger initiatives.
Essien is a charitable individual who is softly spoken but well respected globally. The former Chelsea midfielder often organises fundraising football matches amongst many of the world’s top players to help raise funds for various initiatives, with children holding a special place in his heart. He is also the peace ambassador chosen by the African Union to promote peace in Africa.
The former Super Eagles star is well known in Nigeria and around Africa, and his impact has spread even wider than that. According to the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF), which the player founded in response to a heart issue that was detected and corrected in himself during his time playing in Italy, ‘the KHF has had over 415 heart surgeries at an outstanding 98.5% success rate.’ He is in the process of building a cardiac hospital in Nigeria.
The striker has been an important philanthropist for his country, and for the West and Central African region in general. The Samuel Eto’o Foundation looks to benefit children in that part of Africa with a focus on healthcare services, education and the promotion of social inclusion through sports. Football and other sport is used to bring the children together and give them a way to connect with others and develop a sense of community. He has also donated ambulances and has been involved in the construction of hospitals.
The Juventus player began a clothing range a few years ago with all profits going to his StepApp Foundation, which provides medical insurance and facilities for those most in need in his homeland. He has big heart, and he promotes education through UNICEF initiatives.
The Ivorian is an advocate for education and the need to provide youngsters with the necessary elements to produce an educated member of society. Eboue has been involved in raising funds to build schools, pay fees for those who could not afford it and establish trust-funds to provide pupils in need with school clothing and textbooks.
The former Nigeria captain is known for his charitable spirit and willingness to involve himself in initiatives that benefit his people. The Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation has reportedly provided over 300 educational scholarships for students at various levels of the scholastic and varsity system. He also established a football academy in Ogoni, and it is clear that his philanthropic activities have young people and children in mind.
Together with his brother, Bonaventure, Salomon Kalou runs the Foundation Kalou since setting it up in 2009 to conduct charitable activities. One of the facilities that this foundation has constructed in the past few years includes a kidney dialysis centre in Boakye, Cote D’Ivoire.
The Togolese striker has a foundation of his own, that contributes to building infrastructure projects in Africa. An example of the type of charitable work he is doing is the launching of two water projects in the twin cities of Hamile and Koro in Ghana, or other smaller infrastructure projects in his homeland.
The former South Africa international is involved in a number of charities that support children, and especially the less fortunate in poorer communities in South Africa. He is another player who has launched his own charitable foundation to help those in need.