- William Hill
During his playing career, the Bison set up the Michael Essien Foundation to raise funds to give the underprivileged of his home town access to basic amenities like healthcare equipment, libraries, public toilets and clean drinking water.
The ex-Chelsea man has also been involved in several charity work including the ‘Reading Goals’ to inculcate reading habits in students.
The first of several Nigerians on this list who have given back to their homeland in bucketloads, Utaka launched an eponymous foundation to support youth development at grassroots level.
“I believe that giving back to the society is very essential,” he told journalists upon the launch of his foundation, “because I was in the system before I travelled abroad where I started playing my professional football.”
Adebayor’s own foundation can take credit for the launch of various infrastructure projects in Africa, often with a philanthropic bent.
He’s been involved in various projects in his homeland, and was also influential in the launch of two water projects in the towns of Koro and Hamile in Ghana.
- Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images / Getty Images
Axe did a great deal for various charities during his career, while he also set up his own foundation in South Africa.
He was an influential figure in the 1Goal initiative, and is known for giving his time and money to those less fortunate than himself.
Widely celebrated for his generous work off the pitch as well as his quality on it, Mane has contributed extensively to his homeland of Senegal since hitting the big time.
He has been involved in various construction projects-from hospitals, to mosques, to the launch of a quarter-million-Euro school in his home village of Bambali.
A video of him cleaning the toilets in a mosque in Liverpool also went viral, highlighting Mane’s selfless attitude.
The Chelsea legend’s charity work includes a £3 million donation for the construction of a hospital in Abidjan in 2009 intended to give people “basic healthcare and a chance just to stay alive” and a £400,000 contribution through the Didier Drogba Foundation in 2015 after giving out all his commercial earnings to charity.
He also used his considerable influence to bring a halt to the Ivorian civil war that had previously raged for half a decade.
The former Black Stars defender set up the Paintsil Peace Kids Project geared towards promoting the interest of children.
The Foundation aims to promote values of respect, and guide young children towards the path of success.
It organised football clinics to impart such values upon children.
- Supreme Committee Qatar
The Cameroon legend has been involved with numerous causes during his career, from scholarship programmes to donations to medical initiatives.
He has been involved in building hospitals and football academies in his homeland, with the Samuel Eto’o Foundation responsible for launching the careers of several top stars.
- Timothy Nofiu
Through his Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation, the former Everton man handed out over 300 educational scholarships to the poor ranging from primary school to university.
He also established a football academy in Nigeria's Ogoni region, and used to spend his off-seasons doing charitable work.
- Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
An entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Appiah set up StepApp—his own self-designed clothing range—with all proceeds being channelled into his own foundation.
It’s a charity that works towards providing health insurance and medical facilities in deprived areas in Ghana.
Appiah has also been active with the UN’s children’s fund to promote education in Africa.
- Shina Odukoya
Famous for his on-field qualities as well as his philanthropic work, Papillo set up the Kanu Heart Foundation after his own brush with death due to a heart defect.
The striker - who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF - has arranged for over a thousand children to travel abroad for live-saving surgery.
Zambia’s Olympic superstar runs the Barbra Banda Foundation, a Lusaka-based nongovernmental organisation which aims ‘to help alleviate poverty and promote equality through sport’.
“Like many, I did not come from a place of abundance hence I understand what it means to need help and no one willing to help you,” the China-based striker said upon the launch of the foundation in February this year.
“I have also experienced how much easier life gets when you have people ready to help you on your path to success.”
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Ex-Arsenal right-back who fought to promote education and education provision in his homeland, in order to invest in Ivory Coast’s future.
He raised money to build schools, pay education fees for those who couldn’t afford them, and support children with the uniforms and text books required to flourish in the academic context.
A truly quality individual, Radebe demonstrated loyalty during his playing career when he stuck with Leeds United despite interest from elsewhere, and was also acutely aware of his social responsibilities beyond Elland Road.
He was a Fifa ambassador for the SOS Children’s Villages, and was also involved in the Starfish organisation, Reach for a Dream Foundation and acted as the Hospice Palliative Care Association ambassador for South Africa.
- KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Renowned for his humanitarian work, Aboutrika was named as one of the UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors for a Match Against Poverty in 2005, and famously protested the plight of Palestinians on the Gaza Strip.
He volunteered to appear in a World Food Programme public service announcement in which he drew attention to the tragic fact that 25,000 people die from hunger every day, 18,000 of them children.
The Egypt great is also a WFP Ambassador against hunger.
John Obi Mikel
Mikel’s charity work has touched many lives in his homeland of Nigeria.
The former Chelsea midfielder set up a foundation in his name in 2012 'to get people back on their feet, and hopefully raise the aspirations of the affected people'.
"I grew up in Jos. It wasn't easy for me as a kid, and to watch people going through a tougher situation now is just unbearable,” Mikel told BBC Sport in 2012. “Some people have been very lucky, but some are not, so it will be to get them to do something positive after these setbacks. I intend to make this a lifetime thing if it achieves its purpose.”
He later set up the Mikel Obi Foundation to unearth talent across the nation.
- Getty Images
The former Chelsea forward runs the Foundation Kalou, having launched it with his brother Bonaventure in 2009 with the aim of overseeing various charitable initiatives.
The foundation was influential in building and overseeing the launch of a kidney dialysis centre in Boakye, Ivory Coast.
The Sseninde Foundation is an NGO which aims to support women and girls around the world both in their desire to play football, and to develop ‘non-formal skills that they can use to create [their] own businesses’.
Sseninde’s Linkedin page states that the Queens Park Rangers defender currently leads a team of over 50 volunteers.
She also gives back to the sport through her work with Caf and Cecafa.
- Getty Images
Koulibaly marked his 30th birthday by giving two ambulances, as well as numerous stretchers, hospital gowns, personal protective equipment and thousands of protective masks to hospitals in his home nation.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye recently returned to his homeland of Senegal to offer his support to non-profit organisation For Hope Association, providing foot and baby supplies to a local nursery.
“It was an incredible moment of sharing, rich in emotions,” the 31-year-old wrote on his Instagram handle. “We then went to the villages of Ngelou where we spoke with the inhabitants, with the aim of making several adjustments.
“We will continue to do everything to make your daily life more enjoyable. Stay tuned.”