Manchester United and Spanish midfielder Juan Mata described Super Falcons star Onome Ebi as a ‘leader’ after the defender revealed that she will be giving one per cent of her football earnings as part of the Common Goal.
Ebi was recently unveiled as the latest player to join Common Goal, a global movement that encourages players to give one per cent of what they earn from the game to organisations, using football as a tool to tackle some of the world’s most pressing social issues.
“I’ve always had a dream of giving back to society because I know what I went through when I was growing up and I know what the young ones are facing at present, especially in my country, Nigeria. I want to help younger ones achieve their goals and I can do this through Common Goal,” the 36-year-old defender said in a video.
Mata who was the first football star to join the Common Goal initiative was quick to praise Ebi in joining the movement.
“I am so impressed and humbled by how many women are stepping forward into leadership positions and taking charge of changing lives through football,” Mata said in a statement.
“Onome is a true leader and a pioneer of the women’s game in Nigeria and beyond. I wish her all the best for her 5th World Cup this summer and hope that she inspires more players, both female and male to find out more about Common Goal.”
Ebi is the third Nigeria football player in Common Goal after Super Eagles defenders William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun.
“Welcome to this wonderful team Onome. Thanks for joining the cause and as they say all great things come in threes - so welcome as the 3rd member of the Nigerian football squad, along with William Ekong and myself, to join this incredible movement. So let’s soar and keep the flag flying high!,” Balogun who plays for English side Brighton & Hove said in a video message.
Ebi is the 101st player in the movement and the 23rd female player at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Henan Huishang defender who played the whole 90 minutes of Nigeria’s opening game at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is the first African woman taking part in this summer’s World Cup to join the diverse social impact movement.
With her appearance for the Super Falcons on Saturday, June 8, she became the first African player to feature in five FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments.
“I’d like to thank God for letting me have the chance to appear in my 5th Women’s World Cup. It’s never an easy journey. I’ve worked really hard for it and now I am really excited,” she added.
Common Goal that has so far generated US$1.4 million for football charities empowering youth around the world recently reached 100 players and gender parity for the first time - with exactly 50 male and 50 female players.