Arsenal legend Ray Parlour visited Ethiopia in December to support club partner Dashen Brewery’s work to develop grassroots football in the country.
As part of the trip Ray visited the Ethiopian Sports Academy to meet some of the young students. He also played football with children from an independent football project at Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square in the Capital, where youngsters play street football every day of the week.
Dashen Brewery also invited 15 Ethiopian Premier League goalkeepers to take on Ray Parlour in a charity penalty shootout. Each goalkeeper had two attempts at saving a Parlour penalty and for each of penalty saved, Dashen Brewery donated £10,000.
In total, the goalkeepers saved ten penalties which resulted in a generous donation of £100,000 to a fund supporting a variety of endeavours such as shelter for the homeless and drought relief.
Speaking from Ethiopia, Ray said: “I was really impressed with the children that I have had the chance to meet during my stay here. It really highlights the importance of the work Arsenal and Dashen Brewery are doing to promote football in Ethiopia at a grassroots level.”
In September 2015, Arsenal became the first Premier League side to secure a regional partnership in Ethiopia after announcing Dashen Brewery as its Official Beer Partner in the country. The partnership will help Arsenal get closer to its fans in Ethiopia and will focus on supporting Dashen Breweries' community based initiatives with coaches from the club taking part in grassroots football development projects in Ethiopia.