I mentioned in my blog ‘Africans at the Palace’ a few weeks ago that Palace striker Kwesi Appiah had signed up to play in the inaugural iPAY2PLAY charity football tournament.
The brainchild of former Ghana U21 International Papa Agyemang and Peterborough United’s Gabriel Zakuani, iPAY2PLAY aims to raise money for HIV awareness projects in developing areas of Africa through sponsorship, particularly by means of professional footballer and celebrity endorsement.
The first ever tournament is scheduled to kick off Monday 21st May at 1pm at Lucozade Powerleague, Wembley Stadium.
Each participant will pay towards their place and also raise money.
TeamIMANI alongside Tackle Africa (www.tackleafrica.org )will provide a platform for participants to raise funds to help bring change to the lives that really need it.
TackleAfrica deliver HIV education through football coaching in six African countries, helping save lives through the beautiful game. Peterborough and Congo player Gabi Zakuani and TeamIMANI will be visiting Ghana with TackleAfrica in June.
I’ve actually had the huge privilege to visit Uganda, Zambia and Kenya to help deliver TackleAfrica projects in those countries, alongside a team of other UK-based, TackleAfrica trained volunteers. TA have developed an amazingly innovative training mannual which combines basic football drills such as passing or shooting, with HIV education messages, and I’ve seen first hand how well this works. It provides behaviour changing education in some of the communities in sub-Saharan Africa worse hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The overwhelming love for football, and the English game in particular means that TackleAfrica have a fantastic platform for delivering these projects to an audience that laps it up.
The iPAY2PLAY tournament has managed to land some major players from the Premier League and international areas, and in addition to our Kwesi, the long list of players and celebrities is below. Click on their names to donate to their fundraising pages.
Gabriel Zakuani – Peterborough and DR Congo
Kwesi Appiah – Crystal Palace
Leon Legge – Brentford
Emmanuel Frimpong – Arsenal
Yannick Bolasie – Bristol City
Eddie Kadi – Comedian and DJ
Kazenga LuaLua – Brighton and Hove Albion
Lomana Tresor LuaLua – Blackpool and DR Congo
Craig Mackail-Smith – Brighton and Hove Albion
Albert Adomah – Bristol City and Ghana
Matthew Briggs – Fulham
Kevin J – Comedian
Kwadwo Asamoah – Udinese and Ghana
Justin Hoyte – Middlesborough
Lethal Bizzle – Rap star
Kojo – Comedian and DJ
Carlton Cole – West Ham and England
Nile Ranger – Newcastle and England U21
iPAY2PLAY will consist of four 5-a-side teams; three of which are comprised of professional players & celebrities and one of a corporate sponsors. Teams will play each other once, after which there will be a further two matches between the first and second-placed teams and third and fourth-placed teams to determine the Champions and third and fourth places respectively.
iPAY2PLAY will be covered by Sky Sports, BBC Sport, VOX Africa TV, The Voice Newspaper and many more.
Partners include: TeamIMANI, The Sports Clinic, Tackle Africa, Lucozade Powerleague and Everyday I’m Tackling.
If anyone wants to get involved, there are opportunities for much needed corporate sponsorship.
If your company are interested in entering a team to play against professional footballers, contact email@example.com
To donate £20 or more, text ‘IPAY12’ and your amount to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/ipay2play
TeamIMANI® (Swahili: Faith) is a London-based sports and lifestyle apparel brand which aims to transcend religious and political divisions, instead promoting the idea of unity, inspiration through faith alone.