Former Liverpool and Newcastle forward, Craig Bellamy pumped in about £1m of his money into opening a football academy in Sierra Leone and the 35 year-old fears now that all the efforts maybe going down the drain.
Craig Bellamy’s Sierra Leone Football Academy at risk of closure due to Ebola
Bellamy, 35 spent about £1m to set up the academy which may soon close up
The presence of Ebola was reported in Tombo of a dead old man and young woman; the fishing village is just 15 miles near Waterloo where the former Wales and Manchester City player has his academy which houses 29 young Sierra Leonean boys on a land space measuring 15 acres: the boys aged 12-16 have been confined to the area to keep them safe.
Bellamy however, is grappling with the heartbreak possibility that he may have to close down the facility and send the boys away for the temporal time.
“We can’t keep it open if there’s nobody to supervise the place because that would be dangerous in itself but it’s very difficult because the boys have been safe there.
“Once they leave and go back to their villages, there is a far greater risk that they are going to be exposed to Ebola.
“Who is going to join us and move to Sierra Leone at the moment?” Bellamy quizzed concerning the academy’s coach, Johnny Mckinstry leaving anytime soon.“It’s not going to happen,’’ he added.
“We’re desperately trying to make other arrangements for the boys who come from areas that have been badly affected. We’re hoping that they will be able to stay at the homes of other academy boys who live in villages that have remained free from the virus.
“The honest truth is, I don’t know when we will be able to re-open. The scale of what is happening out there is terrible.”
Further expressing his anger, he said: “The only thing worse than this would be civil war.
“And what is so sad is that people had been trying to warn western governments of the danger for months.
“Nothing was done. Then, because a European national or a US national contracts the virus, there’s a panic and everyone realises there’s a big problem.”
Before opening the academy, Bellamy explained how much of a dream fulfilment it was for ''that one day, one of the kids who goes to the academy would be able to become a top player and look after his family.’’
“I wanted the academy to start what people call a virtuous circle.
“As far as I’m concerned, what I’m doing in Sierra Leone will be my legacy, not how many goals I scored or how many medals I won or how many Premier League appearances I made.
“I’m proud of those things, too, but they don’t really matter,’’ Bellamy was quoted on Mirror.
“I would love to be able to see them playing the greatest game in the world and be able to think that I had played a part in enabling them to do that.
“But I would get as much satisfaction if one of my students became a doctor in Sierra Leone, saving people’s lives.”
Bellamy has been in Sierra Leone for a long time after he fell in love with the West African country ten years ago on a vacation
He has been there since the first case of Ebola was reported there.
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