Madonna At 60: Pop Star Opens Football Academy In Malawi
Queen of Pop, Madonna turned 60 years on Thursday, and has decided to show more support for the game of football.
Madonna posted pictures and videos of her adopted son, David Benda, who plays for Benfica youth side, on social media, as she follows the 12-year-old’s progress closely in Lisbon.
"It is actually David's idea that we should build a football academy," Madonna said on a recent visit to Malawi, where she adopted four of her six children, including David, and where she's done extensive charity work.
Madonna, who turned 60 on Thursday, floated the soccer academy idea in the southern African country last month, prompting the national association to respond enthusiastically.
"We are very excited with this window of opportunity that has arisen," Malawi Football Association president Walter Nyamilandu told The Associated Press. It will complement our efforts to establish football academies in the country."
The association has already offered Madonna a piece of land next to the national soccer stadium in the capital, Lilongwe, Nyamilandu said.
"We presented our proposal of the academy to Madonna and they are satisfied with it," he said.
Madonna's work in Malawi, through the Raising Malawi charity, focuses on helping orphaned and vulnerable children. The charity has built orphanages, schools and a specialist pediatric hospital unit.
David hopes the academy will help raise the soccer profile of his country of birth, too. Malawi currently has no soccer academies.
"We will start slow and grow bigger, enter African Cups and hopefully grow as big as we can be," David said.
It's an ambitious plan. Malawi only has one player in a European League, midfielder Tawonga Chimodzi who plays for a second-division team in Cyprus.
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