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Manchester young ambassador inspires London 2012


EDDIE AFEKAFE from Whalley Range upstaged the big stars at the England bid to host the 2018 World Cup in Zurich in December 2010.

Despite the bid being unsuccessful, the presentation and speech relating to legacy and ideals of inspiration was similar to the one used for the 2012 Olympics.

Afekafe gave a presentation alongside famous faces such as Prince William, David Beckham, Prime Minister David Cameron and chief executive officer at England 2018, Andy Anson.

Afekafe’s speech, in particular, on how his life had been transformed through football, was praised by FIFA executive committee members who believe in football’s transformative capabilities.

In the speech he said: “Choose England today and England will deliver many more stories like mine. Football united – it’s a new idea, a big idea, but one that everyone supports.”

Afekafe had been unemployed for four years until his life changed when he went to a job centre in Moss Side and found out about a programme being run by the Princes Trust in partnership with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in 2005. It was part of the Prince's Trust Football Initiative and helped him find volunteer work with Manchester City's Football in the Community programme.

Securing part-time and then eventually full-time employment, Afekafe made outstanding progress and now works with Manchester City FC as their social inclusion project manager.

He told the Voice of Sport: “Growing up near Moss Side opportunities for young people such as myself from deprived backgrounds were limited. Loads of the guys I went to school with were in gangs. Some even ended up in prison. I wanted to find something better for myself and took the opportunity with the Prince’s Trust.”

ROYAL APPOINTMENT: Afekafe alongside Prince William
(centre) and David Beckham (right)

Supporting the work of The Trust as a Young Ambassador, Afekafe now works with Opportunity Inspired by London 2012, which will use the power of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire young people to develop skills, make positive choices and access employment, education, training and volunteering.

Afekafe is looking forward to the Games and believes his friend Beckham is the perfect man to captain the GB Olympic team to success and will provide the inspiration needed to bring out the best in the young people.

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