African football legends have inspired African youth to work hard to succeed instead of seeking shortcuts to success.
The legends who are in Kigali this week for the national kickoff of the Legends in Rwanda, in the lead up to the Veteran Clubs World Championships 2024, attended the 5th edition of the Youth Connect 2022, a three-day continental annual event that kicked off this October 13, 2022.
The legends are Khalilou Fadiga (Senegal), Anthony Baffoe (Ghana) Lilian Thuram (France), Patrick ‘Magic’ Imboma (Cameroon) Rwanda’s star captain- Jimmy Gatete who made a record in 2003 leading Rwanda against Ghana to get an African Cup qualifier ticket.
Among all the legends was 70 years old Cameroonian Roger Milla who is remembered for his legendary World Cup 1990 goal score and waist dancing in celebration.
The legends also have a plan to launch a program called Legends in Rwanda and the Veterans Club World Championship (VCWC).
The legends, assisted by the Rwanda football federation, will hold meetings with various institutions to prepare the ten-days VCWC event slated for 2024 in Kigali and to take place at Amahoro stadium- which is currently under renovation and facelift.
The VCWC to take place in May 2024, will be the first and historical event in the history of African football.
The legends were given an opportunity to speak to hundreds of youth gathered at BK Arena for all corners of Africa for an event aimed at inspiring youth leadership, entrepreneurship and creating the next-gen of agents of change in Africa.
Legends Team leader, Anthony Baffoe told the youth connect participants not to give up on their dreams and consistently knock on doors until they are opened.
Baffoe said that all the legends standing at the Youth Connekt came from somewhere and someone at some point didn’t believe they would make a career out of football.
Now we are here and have made our careers. We want to encourage youth to never give up the fight,” Baffoe said;
“One word to go with after this Youth Connekt- there is no elevator to success you have to take the stairs,” he added.
These points were retaliated by Rigathi Gachagua, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, who said he has learnt a lesson from the football legends especially that there is no short cut to success and hard work.
With this personal challenge, VP Gachagua encouraged the youth of Africa to focus and put to good use of their youthful years so as to come out as leaders and as the legends at the event.
Maxwell Gomera, the UNDP country representative who said that the example of African football legends shows that whatever field the youth are involved or playing in, if done well, it must bear fruit adding to the dignity of Africans, add to optimism that every African should have and also show the good job done for oneself.
Gomera asked the youth to ask extra ordinary questions of what they see around them and challenge the status quo, to be kind and have humanity which is running short in the world, challenging the youth to be part of the UNDP drive to change the world.
Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi also said that the youth can define their role to impact change starting from their own communities without waiting for positions to occupy, giving an example of the role of youth volunteers in Rwanda in preventing the COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda.