By Gillian Langmead
Former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea star, four-time African Footballer of the Year and Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o thrilled hundreds of people at Lusaka’s Bauleni neighbourhood this week, after he popped in to check the local community’s football pitch, which is being rehabilitated by Zambian Breweries, as part of its responsible alcohol programme.
The soccer giant was in Lusaka for the first ever Castle Africa 5’s football tournament which was hosted by Zambia, and joined the area MP and Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe in Bauleni where they handed over sports and educational material donated by Zambian Breweries.
The community was later surprised with a visit from Zambia’s first President Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who counselled youth on the importance of fair play, working together, and the need to avoid harmful practices.
Four-time African footballer of the year Eto’o said that football was a great tool for developing communities, especially in underprivileged ones, and promoting good in society.
The Bauleni Primary football pitch aims to help in developing football talent as part of the Zambian Breweries goal to create a better world by engaging youth on constructive activities through sports under its three-year responsible drinking programme.
“It is an honour for me because it wasn’t too long ago that I was in a similar situation; football made me the person that I am today. It’s an honour and a pleasure for me to be a part of this initiative that is giving back to the community,” said Eto’o, who was accompanied by his counterpart and Castle Africa 5’s ambassador Christopher Katongo.
“We hope that with this legacy pitch, the youth will direct their energy towards harnessing their sporting talent rather than spend it on unproductive and harmful activities such underage drinking, drug abuse,” added Zambian Breweries Country Director Jose Moran.
“We are very excited that Zambia is hosting the inaugural Castle Africa 5’s Continental Final which is currently the biggest of its kind in Africa. The tournament showcases the spirit of friendship and unity through football. We are also happy to be hosting our friends from around the southern African regions, who share the same passion as we do for the beautiful game,” said Moran.
Passion for the beautiful game
Castle Lager has sponsored football on the African continent for over 60 years and continues to provide fans with the opportunity to live out their passion for the beautiful game through this unique and exciting five-a-side tournament.
The popularity of five-a-side football, a variation of association football in which each team fields five players, has grown considerably in recent years and is now played by millions across the globe.
Moran concluded on a lighter note: “Now is when the hard work begins for the teams as this is the final leg of the competition and they have to bring their best game. But only one can come out on top so we look forward to crowning the winners. All the same, there will be a lot of comradery and we hope that family and friends turn up in numbers to give their support.”
As one of the world’s leading footballers, Eto’o won 14 major trophies, including the prestigious UEFA Champions League three times, twice with Barcelona and once with Inter Milan.
The 36-year-old former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea star, a four-time recipient of the African Footballer of the Year award and who has also played in three World Cup tournaments is an inspirational figure to up-and-coming African players.
Jose Moran, Chris Katongo, Samuel Eto’o and Margaret Mwanakatwe in Bauleni.
Castle Lager has sponsored football on the African continent for over 60 years and continues to provide fans with the opportunity to live out their passion for the beautiful game.
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