As the virus spreads across the continent, international stars of African football are rallying round to help the populations of their respective countries in the best way they can. Following in the footsteps of Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o, the Liverpool FC players Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané — both African Players of the Year, in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and UEFA Champions League titleholders — are actively involved in efforts to tackle the pandemic.
Sadio Mané has offered 30 million CFA francs (€45,000) to the Senegalese National Committee on Combating Coronavirus. This donation will help the Government carry out preventive measures, acquire medical equipment and assist the most at-risk families.
For his part, Mohamed Salah, Liverpool FC’s number 11, has offered nearly 720 million CFA francs (over €1 million) to his country of origin, Egypt. In addition to donating thousands of tonnes of food and fresh meat, this sum will help families impacted financially by the coronavirus in Salah’s home town of Nagrig.
Seydou Keita, ex-captain of the Eagles, as Mali’s national football team is known, has made a donation amounting to 30 million CFA francs (€45,000). The donation comprised 557 sacks of rice, 611 sacks of millet, 300 bags of sugar and 100 cans of oil and bottles of hand sanitiser gel. Fact sheets detailing preventive measures for combating the spread of the virus were also distributed.
Explaining his reasons for the initiative, the retired player said: “We decided to make this donation because we know that it is very hard to survive while this pandemic continues to cause so much damage. We have tried to help those families that are suffering the most.”
- Naby Keita, the Guinean international footballer and UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool FC posted his message on Instagram (in French)
- Stéphane Sessègnon, captain of the Benin national football team, on Facebook (in French)
- Mehdi Benatia, former captain of the Morocco football team, on Instagram (in French)
- John Obi Mikel, a Nigerian international footballer, on Instagram
- Legends of African football have shared messages on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Facebook video channel