Our Eddie's a big part of 2018 bid
- 02 December 2010 11:37
- Posted by Rosie Bass
With the eyes of the nation firmly fixed on Zurich, we too at Manchester City are watching with real eagerness as England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018 reaches a climax.
The announcement holds an additional source of interest and pride for everyone here as we are the only Premier League club with an existing member of staff on the five-strong presentation panel. Eddie Afekafe is City in the Community's Social Inclusion Officer and he has played an incredibly important and privileged role in this process.
Eddie first joined Manchester City three years ago as a volunteer coach with CITC, quickly gaining his football coaching badges and beginning work with the club's hugely successful Kickz project, a nationwide initiative which provides opportunities to young people from disadvantaged communities to get involved in sport.
Eddie's work on this project and his obvious potential was identified by CITC’s Dave Coppin and Tom Flower and he was subsequently offered a full time permanent position within City in the Community by Alex Williams. In 2009 he was awarded the Kickz 'Inspiring Young People' award and was also made an ambassador of the Prince’s Trust.
The club was approached by the FA following Eddie's award, asking for his story to be included in a series of case studies for the 2018 bid document. His obvious enthusiasm for his role and the social inclusion side of football's community work led the bid team to further involve Eddie throughout the process, culminating in his invitation to be part of the incredibly exclusive band who have been tasked with making the final FIFA presentations today.
Sarah Lynch, MD of City in the Community said, “ We have watched Eddie’s presentation in Zurich today with a real sense of excitement. Whatever the outcome, we are proud of all that he has achieved both during the bid process and in his tireless work for CITC. Eddie is part of a fantastic team here at Manchester City, a team which makes a difference to the lives of over 200,000 in the region every year. He, like them, is a shining ambassador for Manchester City Football Club and we are delighted that he has been able to contribute in this way to the nation’s bid.”
Regardless of the outcome of today's vote, the club are incredibly proud of both Eddie’s involvement in the bid and his work for CITC.
Four years ago, Eddie Afekafe was unemployed and was struggling to find a job and career. He lived in a tough part of Manchester, where crime rates were higher than average, and many others his age were in gangs.
Eddie knew he wanted more from life, and joined a community football project, before moving on to becoming a volunteer with Manchester City Football Club’s community programme City in the Community.
Having gained his football coaching badges Eddie began working at the club’s Kickz project, a nationwide initiative which provides opportunities to young people from disadvantaged communities to get involved in sport.
Eddie helped to work with up to 300 young people a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the Moss Side and East Manchester areas of Manchester.
Here Eddie developed new skills, confidence and self-esteem and was eventually able to find a full time job with City in the community. Eddie now leads and motivates other young people, and in 2009 he won the Kickz 'Inspiring Young People Award'.
Kickz provides sport opportunities for 28,000 young people like Eddie, up to three nights a week, 48 weeks of the year. It also tackles serious social problems, with clubs running workshops about issues such the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and carrying weapons. It has been incredibly successful, and is credited with a drop in crime of up to 60% in some areas. Over 170 young people have gone on to find employment in the community departments of England’s professional football clubs. Kickz is supported by the Premier League, Football League, the FA and the Football Foundation, and is delivered in partnership with the Metropolitan Police.