Cinderella. From rags to riches. Zero to Hero. We always cheer when an underdog is making it big time, escaping their harsh surroundings and achieving success despite all odds.
The competitive nature of sports is the perfect stage for those stories. Many football players were born in impoverished countries, denied access to basic living conditions, such as clean water, food, shelter, and stable family-life. Football is one of the ways to escape this life by playing abroad and making money. The public hears mostly about the success stories like N’golo Kante, Carlos Tevez, or Victor Moses.
One of the most covered cases is that of Sadio Mane. The Senegalese superstar, who has won Champions League and the Premier League with Liverpool, is building hospitals, schools, and other crucial infrastructure projects back home. His generosity and patriotism are so great that the President of Senegal wishes for Mane to succeed him. As we know from George Weah – it might happen!
Talent, hard work and a lot of luck made it possible. Mane’s heart and integrity made it happen. Marcus Rashford fed 1.3 million children, after suffering from food insecurity as a child. Overall, he donated 125% of his capital and was knighted for his relentless work off the pitch.
Stari talent, Mavis Tchibota, donates thousands of food baskets to needy families every holiday in each country he played at. He is also active back home, in Congo – donating money, toys, school equipment and clothes to kids in his hometown.
This is one of Stari’s core values – educate our players to give back to their communities.
Should the footballers give back to their communities, and is this limited to “cinderellas”? The debate is not only ethical. We state that it is also in footballer’s best interests to be charitable; especially when they earn fortunes, like in the Premier League. For just a small fraction of their wages they get great publicity and renown for something more than football, tangible benefit to places and organizations which desperately need funding and attract sponsors and other commercial deals.
Now then, are those practices limited to cinderellas only? Jordan Henderson donated 4 million pounds in 2020, and Kaka, donating to African football organization and World Food Programme among others, show that middle- and high-class background footballers can support charities not immediately related to their past or present environment.
The conclusion is simple, giving back to the community and overall being generous with money made in football is beneficial not only to the recipients of the charity but also to the footballers themselves. That on top of it’s being the right thing to do.