By Markos Berhanu
Martin Keown, a key centre-back (defender) in “The Invincibles” team of Arsenal, will visit Ethiopia on 11 and 12 May, 2016 under the Dashen-Arsenal Partnership which seeks to boost grassroots football development in Ethiopia.
Martin is the second Arsenal Legend to visit Ethiopia in six months. In December 2015, Ray Parlour, voted by fans as one of the 50 Greatest Players of Arsenal, visited Ethiopia to encourage grassroots football by meeting children and youth under various football projects in Addis Ababa including one at the Ethiopian Sports Academy.
Martin’s visit will be historic because he will be spending his two days in Gondar, home of Dashen Brewery, and in Addis Ababa. Martin will visit various tourist attractions including the mighty Dashen Mountain – the jewel of Simien Mountains National Park – among others.
Just like Ray, Martin is also on the list of the “50 Gunners’ Greatest Players” standing at 20th.
On his first day in Gondar, Martin will unveil plaque for the renovation of a football field in the town of Gondar to upgrade it to semi-standard football pitch. Under this project, financed by Dashen Breweries, the existing dusty and inconvenient field in the centre of Gondar will be covered with grass. Other amenities to make the pitch suitable to Gondar children and youth to practice football regularly and comfortably are also included in the project. It will have a fence, a gardener and a guard to look after the grass, among other things, after the field is upgraded into semi-standard football pitch.
Also on the same day, Martin will hand over support commitment letter to Gondar town Administration for Dashen Breweries’ financial support for the construction of low-cost housing project. This latest housing project is in addition to several low-cost houses Dashen Breweries has built in Gondar and its environs previously thanks to Dashen’s principle of giving back generously to community.
Martin will then handover prizes, courtesy of Dashen Breweries, to Gondar winners of radio quiz competition conducted a week ahead of his visit both in Addis and Gondar. He will also briefly interact with children from a Gondar grassroots football project and hand over footballs gifts to the children before heading to visit the Simien Mountains National Park. On the morning of May 12, he will visit the Dashen Brewery Gondar plant where he will also interact with Dashen staff, customers and Arsenal fans.
In the afternoon, he will fly back to Addis where he will spend a few hours with children under grassroots football project and participate in football with these children at the Ethiopian Sports Academy Gym. During these few hours, Martin will show the children and their coaches training and playing techniques. He will also handover prizes to Addis Ababa winners of radio quiz competition.
Arsenal has become the first Premier League side to secure a regional partnership in Ethiopia after announcing Dashen Breweries S.C. as its Official Beer Partner in 2015. The three-year-partnership will help Arsenal get closer to its fans in Ethiopia and will focus on supporting Dashen Breweries community based initiatives with coaches from the club taking part in grassroots football development projects in Ethiopia.
Under this arrangement Arsenal Soccer School Coaches gave two consecutive training sessions to over 3o Ethiopian coaches in November 2015 and February 2016 under the Dashen-Arsenal Grassroots Football Coaching Programme.
Both the legends’ visits and the Grassroots Coaching Programme will continue over the three year partnership period to significantly contribute for the development of football in Ethiopia through grassroots approach.
“We, at Dashen Breweries, are working really hard in partnership with Arsenal to make sure that our aspirations for a significant football development in Ethiopia will materialize by the end of the partnership in three years,” said Devlin Hainsworth, CEO of Dashen Breweries.
Martin’s visit is a continuation of the Dashen-Arsenal partnership which, in addition to supporting football development, has become instrumental in promoting Ethiopian culture and attractions around the world, particularly in the UK.
Source: New Business Ethiopia