Kanu Foundation needs your contributionsThomas Kwenaite
Story written by Mandla & Andile Dladla
Joel Beya is an enterprising and adventurous football loving fan and his passion lies in communicating and creating content.
He never really cracked in the professional ranks due to debilitating injuries but feels blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some really talented people and legends of the beautiful game from all over the world.
Beya, alongside Arsenal & Nigerian legend Nwankwo Kanu have been flying back and forth between Nigeria and India to increase the amount of surgical operations for patients with heart conditions and have finally put together a documentary that raises awareness for the Kanu Heart Foundation charitable organization.
Kanu decided back in 2001 to start the foundation after suffering from a near fatal heart condition and although Inter Milan declared him unfit to pursue a professional career, his passion drove him to seek medical help in the United States where he was healed and went on to enjoy a successful career.
“Together with his wife Amara Kanu they approached me and shared with me their vision regarding their intentions to help as many kids with similar conditions as possible, asking if I would be interested in becoming part of the documentary” said Beya.
“They worked on the scenes and eventually finalized the documentary. It has really opened my eyes in a different way and I am grateful to have been a part of such an ambitious and general fantastic foundation because the documentary opens people’s eyes to many things,” adds the presenter from @cheekysport.com
“I had a very good interview with Ravel Morrison and my good friend Adam who said that “sometimes people don’t know what they have, so a risk of inconsistency tends to kick in starting from a young age or you also find that it is just not your day so the scouts or coaches don’t really see anything in you”.
Sir Alex Ferguson believed that Morrison as a young player would become one of the greatest players, comparing him to Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes but ended up not reaching the top level of professional football.
South Africa has a similar situation in a player like Emmanuel Letlotlo who was seen as one of the brightest rising stars in the game but today finds himself club less.
“I guess what the game needs is what my friend Steven did. A documentary for some of these players after they stop playing. Something that myself, Steven and Rio Ferdinand were looking into is to do more and talk more on the mental health of players so that when they retire they should have something done to assist. Hopefully the same thing can also be done in South Africa and all around the world because we all love the game.”
There has been a glut of coaches emerging as a new generation in the EPL in the likes of Mikel Arteta, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney. I think everyone deserves an opportunity and it’s good to see young managers like Mikel seeming to restore the image of Arsenal.
“We want to see more of them given a chance, black coaches as well and if people deserve it then they should be given a fair opportunity. From my understanding Mikel has been well spoken of by Pep Guardiola and he did a great job as his assistant at Manchester City so the future looks bright.
“Lastly when it comes to players here in England and some parts of the world signing contracts at the age of seven or eight years which appears to be the norm these days, is totally wrong. I think that children should be allowed to be children and not rushed into signing contracts that come with a lot of demands.
“It’s vitally important for them to enjoy their childhood as much as possible but at the same time you want to keep them grounded and teach them the rules of the game as well as the tactics, but at the same time allow them to enjoy the game from an early age.
“It comes with a lot of responsibility and that’s when things like a bad attitude starts to kick in and with so many social media platforms plus followers, everyone starts talking about the young player and glorify them while they haven’t done anything yet in their career. There should always be balance.”