Harare – Liverpool’s Senegalese superstar Sadio Mane restored hope that highly paid and overly celebrated footballers can still be positive role models when he said he could not splash cash on luxuries when the world was full of people in need.
"Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or two planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world?” asked the forward. “I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things. But today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people.”
It seems to be a message that has resonated with three Europe-based Zimbabwean footballers who are assisting more than 12,000 school children back home.
Aston Villa’s Marvellous Nakamba, Nyasha Munetsi of Reims and Lyon player Tino Kadewere have decided that they too cannot splurge on themselves while those around them go hungry.
Munetsi’s Glory to Glory International Ministries is paying school fees for thousands in the high-density suburb of Mabvuku, and this weekn his representative Elliot Bhakuche told The Southern Times Sport that: “Nyasha has always remembered his roots.
“Since his days at Orlando Pirates in South Africa, he has always been giving back to the community. But now, he has upped the game, possibly because pastures are greener where he is now. He is providing foodstuffs to hundreds of needy members of society every month.
“Not only is he doing this for the underprivileged, he is also helping out some academies which nurtured him, including Friendly Academy from where Cape Town FC scouted him.
“He has always said he will live a more comfortable and fulfilling life when he knows he is doing what he can to help other people.”
Nakamba’s Foundation supports more than 4,000 pupils, some of them at the Dinde School in a remote of Hwange were he too was eduated.
There are plans for his foundation to launch some of its operations in the Cyclone Idai-hit areas of Chimanimani and Chipinge in the east of the country.
Kadewere, a relatively new signing at Lyon having joined the UEFA Champions league semi-finalists two months ago, is also doing his bit bid assist where he can.
Apart from bankrolling his father’s academy in Harare, he is also paying school fees for hundreds of children in addition to providing other forms of financial support.