Samuel Eto’o, one of the most decorated players in world football, has officially joined the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) as a Global Ambassador.
Eto’o has won 15 major honours in his glittering career to-date, a haul that includes three UEFA Champions League victories, four league titles across spells in Italy and Spain, and one FIFA Club World Cup. He joins Xavi Hernandez and Mohamed Saadon al-Kuwari as official SC Ambassadors. The former Cameroon international Eto’o has also earned 118 international caps – including appearances at four FIFA World Cups between 1998 and 2014.
In August 2018, he joined QNB Stars League side Qatar Sports Club and made a new home for himself in the host country of the next FIFA World Cup. During a special signing ceremony with SC Secretary-General Hassan al-Thawadi, he officially became part of the journey on the road to 2022.
The four-time African Player of Year said, “It’s a great honour for me to be an ambassador for the SC and hope I am able to deliver what is expected of me. The World Cup is the biggest competition in football – there is nothing bigger – and I think that for the players who have had the chance to play in the World Cup there is nothing more beautiful.”
Eto’o continued: “Football goes much farther than politics and it’s important that football travels the world because it’s everywhere – it’s an incredible social force. It has an impact on our lives even if some do not like football – we are always paying attention to football and I am happy that Qatar is and will be the face of it for a month during the World Cup, and Qatar will also be the face of the Middle East.”
With a particular focus on workers’ welfare projects, Eto’o will assist and support the SC in the delivery and implementation of a number of its initiatives, as it continues its work to deliver an outstanding FIFA World Cup and also ensure the legacy of the competition is long lasting and far reaching.
The striker, who in 1998 appeared at his first FIFA World Cup at the age of just 17 years and three months, has also made an impact away from the professional game. In 2017 he was named the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund Goodwill Ambassador for Cameroon.
In addition to this, in March 2006, he launched the Samuel Eto’o Foundation and has since built football schools across Africa with the goal of encouraging young people to have access to sporting facilities to hone their skills, while also providing the frameworks required for them to continue their studies. The foundation also provides healthcare and social integration opportunities for those who attend.
On his passion for using the power of football to affect positive social change, Eto’o added: “It always humbles me to know that I can bring a smile to someone’s face with small acts of kindness like lending an ear. What may seem benign to us, can mean the world to others.
“I told myself I have to share my experience with some, and above all, the grassroots in Cameroon in particular and in Africa in general. I can establish football schools which will allow some young people to overcome some obstacles which they might face in Europe.
“This is why I embarked on this beautiful project that excites me every day and I’m happy because I have some players who now play with some of Europe’s biggest clubs. It gives pride for me as the face of the foundation but all those backing me have also played a big role in giving the youth this opportunity.”
Commenting on the announcement, al-Thawadi welcomed Eto’o to the team.
He said: “Samuel is one of the most successful footballers in the history of the game, and we welcome him to join us on this unique journey. As well as his remarkable achievements on the field, what makes him stand out is the commitment he has shown to using his profile to affect positive change away from the professional game.
“We have always been steadfast in our own commitment to ensuring this World Cup is not only about the 28 days of on-pitch action, but about the impact it will have across the Arab world and beyond, for generations to come. I am confident that working alongside someone of Samuel’s calibre, stature and character can only positively help us to achieve these goals together.” (SC.qa)
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