Stars from the worlds of football and philanthropy joined forces last night (Tuesday November 1st) to celebrate the forthcoming Best of Africa awards.
Ambassadors from the footballing world including Andre Ayew, Odion Ighalo, Gaetan Bong and Chris Hughton joined representatives from more than a dozen bodies funding projects and communities in Africa.
The event, held at the office of London law firm Mishcon de Reya, Africa House, was held to announce nomination categories for next year’s awards. West Ham and Ghana forward Andre Ayew spoke passionately to guests and applauded the awards for highlighting the commitment of players with African heritage who are founding and supporting charities in Africa.
He said: “Tonight was an important event in the calendar of any footballer with African heritage. When you get the opportunity to play in the biggest league in the world, as I have, you grasp it with both hands. But as an African I owe it to give back to my country and continent, and tonight was a celebration of that. African players do a lot to give back but we can always do more. It is very important that we never forget what is happening back home. That we stay united and that we do what we can. It was an honour to be asked to attend and speak at tonight’s preview. I am very much looking forward to next year’s awards and am inspired by the whole event.”
The business world was represented by compere, René Carayol, Founder of the Inspired Leaders Network. Other football names in attendance included, Saido Berahino, Kevin Lisbie, Bradley Pritchard, Efan Ekoku and President of the Sierra Leone FA, Isha Johansen.
Isha said: “Tonight was a real celebration of success and achievement against the odds. Being African we know what it’s like not just to have a dream, but to chase it, and for us here tonight to actually live it.”
Best of Africa founder, Francis Nkwain, said: “Launched in 2011, the success of our previous events has been both remarkable and inspiring and we thank all those who have and continue to support the emergence of a more comprehensive appreciation of the modern African story through sport and the BoA Awards Dinners.
“It is a great privilege for us to have Mishcon de Reya onboard as a Partner to the Best of Africa Awards for another year. Together, we hope to continue to support the emergence of a more dynamic and successful Africa.”
Mishcon de Reya represent many high profile African footballers. Liz Ellen, Head of Sport at Mishcon de Reya said: “We are honoured to be part of the Best of Africa family. As a firm, we work with a number of African entrepreneurs, charities and businesses, all of whom enjoy the prominence that African sporting talent has in the Premier League and Football League. They, and we, admire the philanthropic efforts of players of African origin and are delighted that their contribution is recognised through the Best of Africa Awards.”
** Notes to editors **
Best of Africa was established to support and celebrate African-owned philanthropic endeavour, and to give awareness for the effort and the hard work that football players put into projects for Africa through altruism and leadership. Previous attendees and winners have included Yaya Toure, Fabrice Muamba, Emmanuel Adebayor,and Eniola Aluko, and the event is fast becoming one of the most prominent in the calendar of players with African heritage and their fans. The Best of Africa 2017 Awards will be held in London in April.
For more information on last night’s preview event, to request high res images or to join a mailing list to be notified about next year’s awards, please contact Aisha Hughton at firstname.lastname@example.org