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Wednesday October 1, 2008Creative Cooperation Charity Work

By Rhonda Richards | In Charity

A youth spent dribbling between various obstacles left on the local pitch, or shooting into makeshift goals with half-inflated footballs, had a lasting impact on Micah.

Circumstance is a denominator often used to explain success in football. For the most obvious example, read the conveyor-belt of talent that Brazil produces, and then listen to suggestions that the strife and impoverished backgrounds the likes of Ronaldo, Pele and Zico grew up in played an influential role in their development.

Whatever the various viewpoints are, it is a situation which Micah would like to change, both in this country and abroad.

The 20-year old’s father, Lincoln, is a trustee for the Creative Cooperation charity which looks to provide equipment and resources for budding footballers in Ethiopia, and Micah empathised with the plight of children growing up in horrific conditions beyond those in which he himself had honed his skills.

The growth of professional football, both in a playing and an economic sense, has brought with it an increase in the responsibility of the players, managers and chairman that are rewarded for their involvement, and one promise Micah made to himself upon signing his first professional contract with Manchester City was that he would stay true to his younger years.

These, spent in the inner-city Leeds suburb of Chapeltown, were dedicated to the defender’s dream of succeeding in football, and the relatively unsuitable conditions that he found himself in served only to make Micah more determined to provide the facilities, the tools and the environment for others to hone their skills years later.

The humble but wholesome upbringing Micah enjoyed, living with his parents Heather and Lincoln, is one that Micah often returns to, offering tips to the new generation of budding footballers, but the England international’s aspirations encompass an even wider scope than the areas he inhabited himself.

It is testament to both father and sons’ conscientious nature that, firstly, Lincoln took an active interest in Creative Cooperation, and Micah followed. The charity was founded in 2006 with the aim of generating funds and support to provide groups of children around the country with basic football equipment, such as balls themselves and team kits, and using the game as a means of connecting with the younger groups within Ethiopia.

Micah has added to the supply with pairs of his own boots, football shirts and other equipment, and he also helps to raise fund for the initiative by auctioning off similar items.

“There is not a day that goes by where I don’t appreciate how lucky I really am,” Micah explains. My dad is one of my role-models, and to be able to join up on something that he has felt strongly about throughout his life is a dream come true for me. In saying that, if Creative Cooperation can give children in Ethiopia a dream, or hope, then we will feel we have taken the first steps in doing our bit.

The maturity displayed by the defender does not end there. He realises, accurately, that the influence he could have in generating coverage for the plight of many within the country rests on his on-the-field performances.

Manchester City’s growing presence in the English game, and their potential to compete with the big-four, will only be a productive platform from which Micah can add his name and support to the charities he is currently involved with.

That is a factor that Lincoln, too, acknowledges, and the Chapeltown-resident is proud of Micah’s willingness to aid such causes.

“Micah has been brilliant in giving Creative Cooperation the support it has needed to get started,” Lincoln said. We’re still only making tentative steps at this time as we really gauge the various areas we need to tackle, but already Micah’s position within the game – and the fame that comes with it – is having a positive effect on the work we’re doing. Luckily, I have a son that has a social conscience, who wants to make a difference in the world and is willing to go that extra mile and use his own successes for the benefit of others.”

This is not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last, that Micah affords his privileged position in the game to an honourable cause, and he is also involved with a number of charitable projects in the UK across a number of areas.

Every single professional footballer has a duty to helping charities and trusts further their work and, luckily, the vast majority do.The fame and fortune has plus and minuses, but being able to help causes like Creative Cooperation and the other charities I am involved with gives me the greatest satisfaction.”