Sunderland's popularity is on the rise in Africa with the additions of Ghanaians Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan & John Mensah. Not to mention Benin's most famous player, Stephane Sessegnon.
However the continent is still a poor one. Stories from our own African contingent about not being able to afford kits or boots as youngsters have been circulated in the past, not to mention many other aspiring young footballers in Africa.
A group of Sunderland fans however have joined forces to try and make a difference on the continent, and stop things like this from ever happening again.
Over on the popular sports forums Not 606, a group of Sunderland fans decided to put out an appeal. To send old or unused Sunderland kits to Africa to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
The idea has spread however, with people from all over the world offering shirts of various teams, and all donations have been welcomed.
I spoke with Scott, who is heavily involved in the project, Scott tells us that the appeal so far has been a massive success; "We have had pledges of shirts and kit from supporters all over the globe, as well as very welcome words of encouragement and support from fans of other clubs, including Mags!"
Another part of the appeal was to kit out an entire team in SAFC garb, and an official from a junior team in Kenya 'SAFC Keroche' have been in regular contact with Scott to arrange for kits to be sent over.
Since the launch of the appeal in February, It looks likely SAFC Keroche, along with many other youngsters in Africa will be helped out, as Scott tells The Roker Report that so far there have been over 100 donations and pledges of support, from supporters of all teams.
The group have also been hopeful of attracting a big name to lend their support to the campaign, although the club themselves have been less than helpful so far Scott tells us "I contacted the club 3 times, and was more than a little annoyed to receive no response whatsoever from them. I strongly feel that this is the kind of thing Niall himself would throw his weight behind if he was made aware of it, we all know of the great mans gesture to the children’s ward and the fact he gave up his testimonial money to help others!"
The boys are not dicouraged, as you can see this has been highly successful to date. To have over 100 shirts pledged from just putting the word around one internet forum is quite some acheivement.
So, if you have an old shirt lying around please help out. The group are actively seeking the following to help their great cause:
Shirts - If you've got one sat doing nothing, get in touch and it can be arranged to be sent over to Africa. No matter what the team, you'll be helping a fantastic cause.
- A big name to back the campaign - Know someone at SAFC? A former or current player? A member of the local press? Help the boys out and lend them your contact book.
Help with delivery - If you're a local company, particularly a delivery/logistics company who can spare some time for a good cause, be it organisationally or help with shipping costs, your support would be greatly appreciated.
If you can help at all, head over to the Not606 Forums, and get in touch. Alternatively leave an email address in the comments section here and The Roker Report will put you in touch with the right people.
Thank you for reading, and please support the campaign.