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FOOTBALL MADE ME WHO I AM TODAY – ETO’O

CAMEROON football legend Samuel Eto’o says football is a great tool for developing communities, especially in underprivileged ones, and promoting good in society. Eto’o on Friday thrilled people in Lusaka’s Bauleni area as he visited the community’s football pitch, which is being rehabilitated by Zambian Breweries, as part of its responsible alcohol programme.

The soccer giant is in Lusaka for the first ever Castle Africa 5’s football tournament to be hosted by Zambia and joined the area member of parliament and Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe in Bauleni where they handed over sports and educational materials donated by Zambian Breweries.

Eto’o’s presence at the Castle Africa 5s tournament adds another dimension of excitement even as the competing teams geared up for the matches yesterday and today at the Futsal Complex in Longacres, Lusaka.

The four-time African Footballer of the Year said football made him the person that he is today and it was an honour and a pleasure for him to be part of this initiative that is giving back to the community. 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 also accompanied by his counterpart and Castle Africa 5’s ambassador Christopher Katongo.

The community was later surprised with a visit from First Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who counselled youth on the importance of fair play, and working together, and the need to avoid harmful practices.

“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.

Zambia will be represented in the continental finals by Stout One FC who will go up against their southern central African counterparts from South Africa, Lesotho, Tanzania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

The winning team will walk away with an opportunity of a lifetime to watch the 42nd match at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, hosted by Eto’o.

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.

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 upcoming African players.

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