By John Magangi
A few weeks ago, I visited a southern African country for charity work. We travelled to several places and distributed items to hundreds of people.
During the course of this work, I got to talk to the locals who were part of my team. After I got to know their names and caught up a little bit about their country and some of their personal interests, we started talking about soccer. I asked them what their favourite soccer team was.
I expected them to name some of the local teams in their country. To my amazement, they all mentioned teams in the English Premier League. Chris and Alfred are ardent Manchester United supporters while Evans is a die hard Chelsea fan. I donât know why I found it difficult to believe, but I did. I mean, this is a country considered one of the poorest in the world, yet Fernando Torres, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie would not walk the streets of the towns there without having to sign a thousand autographs!
It was a reminder of just how powerful the Premier League and TV have become.
Even in the remotest parts of Africa, Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez â the managers of Man U and Liverpool FC respectively are household names. Incredible!
They all had different reasons for liking their various teams but the more we talked, the more I realised something ââ here was a team of young men with great aptitude, zeal and passion. Whatever else these young men lacked, it was not a good head on their shoulders. Yet here they are living in a country where 95 per cent of the people do not have high school education. Is it any wonder that the country is almost at the bottom of ten poorest countries in the world? Whatâs the problem here? Why should a country endowed with great human resource be performing so dismally economically?
Something dawned on me as I thought about it. On one hand were extremely needy people who needed all the help they could get, on the other were young men full of passion and zeal of what they love.
These divergent images reminded me poor people are not incapable, foolish or destined to be poor. The seeds of greatness are there all the time. What is often lacking is opportunity.
Opportunity to grow