Arsenal's Patrick Vieira has returned to Senegal for the first time in 18 years to launch his own football school.
Vieira had never been back to Senegal
The Arsenal captain is hoping to "give something back" to his homeland by starting up the Diambars Academy with fellow French stars Jimmy Boco (formerly of Hibs) and Bernard Lama (formerly of West Ham).
The school will take in children from all over Africa and will provide education in more traditional subjects such as geography and maths as well as football.
We aim to change the dreams of our children
Diambars - which means "warriors" in Senegal's Wolof language - will be funded entirely by charitable donations and sponsorship.
Other big-name players, including Marcel Desailly of Chelsea, El Hadji Diouf of Liverpool, Arsenal's Thierry Henry and Silvestre at Man Utd, have promised to boost funds through fund-raising projects.
Diambars itself will only offer 48 places a year, but the three founders are keen to inspire children across the continent to go to school.
"The message we are giving out across the nation is you have to go school - basically education goes hand in hand with football - no education; no football," said Vieira.
"We aim to change the dreams of our children - they will hopefully not just want to be famous football players; their dreams will be to be educated football players and our duty is to turn their dreams into a reality.
"The project is something I have been dreaming about for a long time. It reaches out to children and changes their lives."
I am finding out about the country where I was born and it is just fantastic
Vieira was born in Senegal, but moved to France with his family when he was eight years old and has never been back.
"Before coming back here everything about that part of my life was pretty hazy. It was so important for my soul to come back here and also to get a few things clear in my head," he said.
"To go back to your roots and your homeland is so important and it kind of enriches and completes your soul. I am finding out about the country where I was born and it is just fantastic."
On Saturday, Vieira, Boco and Lama oversaw the laying of the first stone at the academy, which will have its first intake of 14-year-old boys in October.