Former Black Stars back SOS

Former Ghana stars Abedi Pele and Anthony Baffoe, a highly successful pairing on the field of play for the Black Stars, have teamed up again in support of worldwide charity SOS Children's Villages.

Each of the former internationals has his own reasons for backing SOS Children's Villages. Explains the Maestro, as Abedi Pele is fondly nicknamed: "The reason I'm involved in SOS Children's Village today is that I invested a great deal of effort in football and I've got to know a lot of people. I'm delighted at the chance to support SOS Children's Villages, because as a child I had the same kind of experience a lot of the kids have before they came here."

Tony Baffoe, son of a Ghanaian diplomat stationed in Germany, has a slightly different story to tell: "At the start, I had a happier childhood than the Maestro, but my father died when I was 15. I had to start again at the bottom and took to selling newspapers to keep my head above water."

Speaking from the Tema SOS Children's Village in the vicinity of Ghanaian capital Accra, the local idols related tales of their childhoods to an expectant throng of boys and girls who reside in the village. "SOS Children's Villages is one of the best organised charities I've ever seen. It must have been the will of God which brought us here to help these young people. It's a pleasure for us to give something back to society in return for what it has given us," Baffoe concluded.

In the course of their visit to Tema SOS Children's Village, Pele and Baffoe received certificates officially recognising them as FIFA for SOS Children's Villages Ambassadors. The Maestro's recognition was a shade overdue as he has been actively involved for some time, whereas Tony Baffoe is a freshly appointed ambassador.

The official part of the visit out of the way, the former professional players turned to the fun aspect in a lengthy game of football with the residents of the village. For many of the kids, raised against a background of acute disadvantage and dire poverty, an afternoon shared with two normally unattainable idols was a dream come true. The former Black Stars were only too pleased to oblige. "The folk at SOS are so passionate about their jobs, what else can you do but help?" Tony Baffoe declared after his first tour of an SOS Children's Village. He and Abedi Pele promised to return very soon and hold training sessions for the kids at Tema.