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Stolen socks

Kent Mensah/Africa Interactive/Twenty Te

Headline: From stolen socks and condoms to professional players
Date: 2009/10/27
Location: Accra, Ghana
Article Synopsis: African children play with homemade soccer balls made of condoms and socks in the hopes of one day playing in top European leagues.
Keywords: Africa, Accra, football, Ghana, Europe, league
Language: English

Opening Paragraph: On the dust suffocated streets of Africa – the continent of possibilities – it is commonplace to spot children playing with homemade footballs. It all begins with the kicking of objects, sometimes things as hard as stones, milk tins, coldrink cans, or as soft as rotten tomatoes, socks packed with polythene and these … condoms.

Text: It sounds fictitious. But African children go to great lengths to improvise, just to quench their thirst for football. Most African stars showing their colours in top European leagues today started playing soccer this way. Michael Essien of Ghana and Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast - both top players of England’s Chelsea – began their soccer journey on the dusty streets and car parks of their home towns. When Drogba was a boy, the Ivorian top striker played football in a car park in the city of Abidjan, every day. Likewise, Essien – the midfield powerhouse - started playing on the streets of Accra before moving on to community parks in his community.

The zest that kept them going in spite of the numerous challenges, like not having a soccer ball, makes them the epitome of hope for most African children. They worship this game with passion. Football is...

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