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31.05.2007 General News

Mourinho In For Charity

Chelsea coach, Jose Mourinho, and a team of players from the English Premiership side's youth side flew into town on Tuesday night to begin charity work on a six-year deal with Right To Play, an international humanitarian organisation.

But about 400 fans who paraded the streets of the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, its two entry and exit points — the VIP and the general entry points — as well as behind the fence along the tarmac, left in disappointment after failing to catch a glimpse of English football's 'Special One'.

Mourinho and his team, including Ghanaian-born Nana Ofori Twum but without the iconic Michael Essien who was expected in Accra last night, were whisked away in a bus from press view and the fans' sight from the tarmac to the Golden Tulip Hotel after his brief appearance at the general exit created security problems for himself as some fans attempted to mob him.

When he was snatched back into safety zone, a few had seen the last of him, at least at the airport, and it was the closest anyone else among the enthusiastic crowd, most of them dressed in Chelsea apparel, could get to the man who has secured six trophies in three seasons at Chelsea.

But he told a few within the media that the controversial character often seen along the touchlines in Chelsea matches was different from the off-field Mourinho.

That character, marked by a relaxed, smiling demeanour, was expressed fully at a press conference in Accra yesterday where he, manning the high table alongside Ghanaian-born former French and Chelsea skipper, Marcel Desaily, Chelsea Academy Manager, Neil Bath, Chelsea youth player, Sam Hutchinson, and Right To Play Ghana Manager, Joyce Sepenoo, stated that “to be a big club should not only be about trophies, but should involve important projects such as this one,” in reference to the Chelsea-Right To Play charity project.

The six-year partnership brokered at the beginning of the year is to raise £2 million to support projects of Right To Play, which are spread across 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Joyce Sepenoo expressed the hope that “through this charity project, we will affect the lives of children.”

Essien and three other Chelsea teammates — Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Salomon Kalou — have signed up as ambassadors for Right To Play.