Former Dutch international and FC Barcelona player Patrick Kluivert wants to help the under privileged. Photo: Reuters
Dutch football legend Patrick Kluivert might be a father to six children but he believes he is entitled to give back to those who are less privileged.

Kluivert had a blistering career in his playing days, he made 343 appearances and managed to net 149 goals at club level.

The 41-year-old enjoyed most of his football while he was still in the books of his home-town club Ajax Amsterdam, as he guided the side to eight trophies in three years - one Champions League and InterContinental Cup, two Dutch Championships, Dutch Super Cups and Uefa Super Cups.

The former Barcelona and Valencia striker is currently an ambassador of a local campaign called “Pass The Ball’’, which he co-founded together with the Director of La Liga in Africa Antonio Barradas. The launch of this campaign was held in Alexandra on Friday.

“This is a great opportunity and initiative that La Liga and Safa did, that’s why I am an ambassador," Kluivert said.

“The intention is to give the youth a chance through bringing Spanish coaches to educate the local coaches who can then plough the knowledge back to the youth."

Kluivert continued: “I feel very attached to this project because I am a father of six children and I know how to educate my children. If we can give children who are less privileged something they can use to change their lives, that will make a huge difference."

Kluivert highlighted that they decided to give back to Africa because of his close relationship with Barradas, who has seen the good and bad of the continent and he also feels indebted to South Africa because of the relationship he had with the late Nelson Mandela.

“Antonio has lived in Africa for a number of years, so he knows how poverty strikes the continent," Kluivert said.

“I also have a connection with Africa because of the bracelet- which he was wearing and had 46664 number  that I was given by Nelson Mandela during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. I am very privileged to be part of this project."

Kluivert, who was the was the top goal scorer in Netherlands in the 1999/2000 season and at the 2000 European Championships, is saddened that his country has now failed to qualify for two successive major tournaments - the 2016 European Championships and now the 2018 World Cup. However, he believes coach Ronaldo Koeman will take the country back to the top yet again.

“It’s a pity because it is the second big competition that they (Dutch national team) won’t be involved in. Not only for the Dutch national team but also the people in Holland because you know that when you going to a masterpiece like the World Cup, the country is going to earn a lot of money," Kluivert said.

“I think Koeman will get the team back on track as soon as possible. I also think he is the right man to do that because he has a lot of knowledge. He wanted to be the head coach for a long time now."


Sunday Independent

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