Dubai: Football stars dribble with fans, shoot penalties blindfolded for a cause

Celebrity international footballers raise money during a charity match organised by Noor Foundation Dubai

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French footballer Sean Garnier with fans after the charity football match at Al Nasr club. Photos by Shihab
French footballer Sean Garnier with fans after the charity football match at Al Nasr club. Photos by Shihab

By Ehaab Qadeer

Published: Tue 15 Nov 2022, 6:21 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Nov 2022, 7:10 PM

Mamadou Sakho, Bacary Sagna and Sean Garnier were some of the stars who took part in a blindfolded penalty shootout, an initiative led by Noor Foundation Dubai.

French freestyle footballer Sean Garnier scored the blindfolded penalty, but ex-Manchester City right-back and premier winner Bacary Sagna missed it by a whisker. Players then met young fans and greeted them.

When it comes to football and charity, names that crop up are like Sadio Mane, Mo Salah or Blaise Matuidi, but the French defender Mamadou Sakho has also been doing some exemplary charitable work.

Mamadou was born to Senegalese parents in Paris. While speaking to Khaleej Times, he said, "When you have lived a hard life, charity comes naturally in your mind."

French football player Mamadou Sakho.
French football player Mamadou Sakho.

Mamadou Sakha had a tough upbringing, being the fourth child of a family of seven children who had to live on the streets for years.

"I always told myself, if I make it, I will give back. And Alhamdulillah, I achieved my dream and became a professional footballer; I started looking after people as soon as I could", Mamadou then added.

Mamadou has impacted people's lives as he invests much of his earnings into charity to help and inspire kids and teens.

He has never forgotten his roots or his humble beginnings, and his nature of giving is well-spoken about even in England during his spells at Liverpool and Crystal Palace.


Montpellier's defender believes charity is not just about giving money; even advice and positive talking also give the kids hope and the courage they need.

This exhibition blindfolded penalty shootout was an hors d'oeuvre for AMSAK Charity Gala Dubai on November 16. An AMSAK DONATION initiative founded by former Liverpool and PSG defender Mamadou Sakho.

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