African football legends pay tribute to earthquake victims in gala match in Marrakech


Some of the biggest names in African football joined their Moroccan counterparts in an exhibition match organized in tribute to the victims of the earthquake a few months ago.

On September 8, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 devastated Morocco and its provinces in the Atlas Mountains, 70 km south of Marrakech.

Three months later, the ocher city is healing its wounds and moving forward. A resilience which the legends of African football wanted to salute with a gala match which took place on Sunday at the Grand Stade in Marrakech.

Joined by more than 100 children from Marrakech and its suburbs, as well as a number of football officials, the CAF Legends demonstrated that they still had plenty left.

Present at the event: El Hadji Diouf (Senegal), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Manuel Jose Luis Bucuane (Mozambique), Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Geremi Njitap (Cameroon), Pascal Feindouno (Guinea), Herita Ilunga (DR Congo), Charles Kabore (Burkina Faso), Thomas Nkono (Cameroon) and Abedi Pele (Ghana), Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria), Ahmed Hassan (Egypt), Siaka Tiene (Ivory Coast), Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso ), Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia), Khalilou Fadiga (Senegal), Patrick M’Boma (Cameroon), Titi Camara (Guinea), Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast), Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa), Anthony Baffoe (Ghana) and Mustapha El Haddaoui (Morocco)

Renowned players were also present: Gaelle Enganamouit (Cameroon), Alberta Sackey (Ghana), Clementine Toure (Ivory Coast), Onome Ebi (Nigeria) and Perpetua Nkwocha (Nigeria).

The Senegalese El Hadji Diouf, crowned African Player of the Year twice (2001 and 2002), declared on the occasion: “We are one Africa and when a country suffers, we come together to give it our support . We need to be together, especially in difficult times like this. We want to show the families that we are on their side and that we will never forget what happened. At the same time, we extend our most sincere condolences to the bereaved families.”

Former Togo captain Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor added: “It is very important that we are there for the people of Marrakech and that they know that we are with them in this ordeal.”

Before adding that “Seeing the young children of Marrakech in the stands of the stadium is very important for us, because we really want to show them that we are at their side. When I was young, my parents supported me in education and in all possible areas, so I felt their pain and I hope that they will leave inspired by our presence alongside them.”

Crowned African player of the year 2015, Cameroonian Gaelle Enganamouit, added her voice to that of her colleagues: “From the bottom of my heart, it is an honor to share this love. They need to know that they are not alone. Football is very powerful. It’s a platform that we can use to get this message across very strongly.”

At the end of this match, the legends allowed themselves to be photographed by the children who came in droves to see this match, of which they were indelibly marked by seeing the wide smiles displayed on their faces.

Patrick Mboma, the double African champion and Cameroonian Olympic champion, paid a vibrant tribute at the end of the match, declaring: “It’s a question of solidarity. It was really a difficult moment. It is important to show that we are with them in spirit. Football is a tool we can use to show our support and solidarity. Now the message is clear. We are with the inhabitants of Marrakech”.

Marrakech is rebuilding at high speed and with the CAF Awards 2023, the city has the opportunity to show why football is more than a game.

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