Orphans get Mane’s out-of-date shirts
● Orphans in Malawi are set to receive over 100 Sadio Mane Liverpool shirts donated after the forward changed his squad number. Mane took up Liverpool’s No 10 jersey in July after it had previously been worn by Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool then offered supporters who had purchased Mane No 19 shirts before the switch was announced the opportunity of a like-for-like exchange for a Mane No 10 strip.
Those No 19 shirts have now been gathered and handed to KitAid, who are working with Friends of Mulanje Orphans (Fomo) to distribute the kit to the underprivileged children in Malawi.
“It's like a dream for the children in the villages, getting a T-shirt that they never thought they would get,” Mary Woodworth, founder of Fomo, told ESPN FC. “It’s just magical basically.
“Sadio Mane is from Africa, his name is just everywhere. To see the T-shirt of Sadio Mane will just be overwhelming.
“It will make a big difference, especially in the villages. Because they don’t have the means of getting any money or to be able to buy one T-shirt. It’s a dream come true [for them].”
On Saturday, ESPN FC attended one of their kit-sorting sessions at a church near Everton’s Goodison Park, where over 2,200 pieces of kit were packed ahead of being sent to Africa.
“We have a saying, which is: ‘It’s more than just a shirt,’ ” founder Derrick Williams told ESPN FC. “And it really is because when you go out you see the kids that are desperate for football kit to be part of a team.
“We hear stories where if they haven’t got kit then their team isn't allowed into a league, which is really heartbreaking. So it’s great that we can provide that by working through organisations like Fomo in Malawi.
“We work through the whole football pyramid. So it's great that we get Everton, Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Watford helping us, but it's actually important that we’re there as an outlet all the way down the pyramid.
“When I started KitAid 20 years ago, I would say 80% of kit came from grassroots. It’s just shifted over the years since we’ve become a bit more well known, so it’s probably 60% from the bigger clubs, 40% from the grassroots.
“But we saw it ourselves when we were out in Malawi, it doesn’t matter if it’s Liverpool, they’re equally happy to receive the kit of a boys’ team because it means they can participate in a proper league.” — espn.com ●