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A coach with vision

Shravan Vidyarthi/ Twenty Ten

Associated features: The Red Stars, South Africa (Photo feature), Football college, Nigeria (Photo feature), Ghana's future stars (Photo feature), A Dreaming Drogba, Liberia (Photo feature), Surviving Dreams, Nigeria (Photo feature), Hogsback Lion Cubs (Photo feature), Ghana Legend (Multimedia feature)

Location: Lusaka, Zambia

It is difficult to imagine how Collins Akatama must have felt to suffer a personal injury and realise that he would never play football again. Once a striker with Lusaka Dynamos, Akatama was blinded in 1997 and was forced to relinquish any dreams he may have had of pursuing a career in soccer.

More than a decade later, Akatama has been praised for the role he has played as a coach and mentor to hundreds of young boys between the ages of 10 and 20. Working as a coach to the Ajax FC Soccer Academy in Matero, Akatama has invested his skills and knowledge of the game in the many young boys in his care. He trains the youths to ensure that they understand the importance of team work, discipline and believing in their dreams. Many of the boys look up to him as a role model, and rival coaches have expressed their respect for him.

“What impressed me is that a blind man manages to bring all of these kids together. There is no one I know who takes care of other people’s children in this way,” said another coach from the area.

Despite not having the benefit of sight, Coach Akatama has demonstrated his remarkable vision for football, and its ability to bring people together. In the run up to the FIFA World Cup soccer showcase, individuals like Akatama deserve recognition and praise for the work they do.

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