Dubai: Former Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has rued that the world has changed so dramatically since the coronavirus pandemic took hold that even professional sport is bound to display marked changes in the future.
“Football is just a small part of this thing we call the world. And this world will never be the same again, not in the foreseeable future at least,” Sakho told Gulf News during a chat at the Fifa Medical Centre of Excellence in Dubai earlier this week.
“Businesses around the globe have changed, and the entire sports industry has felt the effects as well. But I am one of those hopefuls who think that world leaders will arrive at solutions that will ensure a decent life for each and every being on the planet. I hope and pray that these leaders find the right solutions to ensure the happiness of all simply because everyone is entitled to a decent life.”
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A full international, who has previously earned caps and captained France at all youth levels, Sakho went on to make his senior team debut in 2010 against England. Since then, the 30-year-old has had over 25 caps while also representing France at the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil.
Over an illustrious career in football, Sakho has been involved in charitable work on several instances. In his early days, he was part of Liverpool’s involvement in community building with Sakho helping teach French to local schoolchildren.
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As part of his charity work, Sakho went on to tour West African nations such as Gabon, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia and Ivory Coast where he interacted with various segments of society including prisoners and underprivileged children.
Earlier this year, the Crystal Palace centre-back hosted a star-studded event in Paris to raise funds for his charity, Amsak. Sakho invited Palace teammates Cheikhou Kouyate, Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew along with fellow France internationals Kylian Mbappe, Blaise Matuidi and former Eagle, Steve Mandanda in backing his pet project of building an orphanage in his native Senegal.
“All my friends came to support me, and my one hope is that we continue raising money for these projects back in Senegal. We have already started building the orphanage. The second part of the project will be an education for the kids, where they will learn values of life and living so that they can go out into the world as confident humans,” Sakho said.
“Football is the number one medium we can use to educate kids. My personal experience in football has proved to me that I have learnt all about hard work, respect and to never give up the fight. This project is really important to me as I want to give these kids a second chance in life.”
Sakho has also involved himself while taking a stand in the Black Lives Matter movement that swept the world earlier this year. And during the course of the current coronavirus pandemic, the footballer has been vociferous in his backing for frontline workers.
“Football is just a small piece of my life. I am doing all this as I love to help people. I think some things come naturally to people. We are one world, and at the moment, we are all in this together. Nothing else really matters rather than give due credit for all the sacrifices made each day by these brave people,” Sakho said.