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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 12:22 UK

Bellamy plans academy in Africa

West Ham and Wales striker Craig Bellamy
Bellamy wants to improve facilities in Africa

West Ham and Wales striker Craig Bellamy plans to build a football academy in Sierra Leone to try to help develop the country's young talent.

Bellamy visited the war-torn country last year and was so impressed by the local playing talent that he vowed to help them improve facilities.

He has now set up the Craig Bellamy Foundation, which will start to build an academy in the capital Freetown.

"Because of the war, children haven't had any opportunity," he said.

"They haven't been thrown a football, they've been thrown a gun.

"Now we can give them a chance that their fathers or grandfathers never had. That's the buzz for me.

"I'm not looking to find and sell players. I'm not an agent. I want to make it clear that if any player does make it, any fee goes straight back into the academy."

Bellamy has reportedly invested nearly 650,000 of his own money into the foundation and the academy is set to include 14 new leagues and 68 new boys' teams and employ 141 managers and coaches.

While improving the country's football is Bellamy's primary motivation, he also hopes the foundation will lead to more youngsters receiving health awareness education.

see also
Man Utd 4-1 West Ham
03 May 08 |  Premier League
Key players out of Wales friendly
17 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Injured Bellamy out for six weeks
21 Feb 08 |  West Ham

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