Having scored 7 goals and provided 2 assists in 34 Ligue 1 games, Marshall Munetsi has been a star performer for Reims this season. But the Zimbabwean midfielder is also making a name for himself off the pitch. He wants to change the way the public sees footballers. Generous on and off the pitch. That’s what being a player is all about.
Football is all about bling, glitz and the cult of luxury image. That’s what many fans and players think. But not Marshall Munetsi. The Zimbabwean midfielder helps many people through his foundation. In fact, at the latest UNFP awards, the Rémois player was presented with the Citizen Player Trophy. Before receiving this award, he had extended his contract with Stade de Reims. Under the terms of his new contract, the club will donate €100 to your foundation for every kilometre Munetsi travels. That’s a hefty sum, given the Zimbabwean’s activity on the field. An initiative that the player welcomes with emotion.
“I was all set to sign a contract extension until 2027 when the club told me about this mechanism to help my foundation. It really surprised me because it was the first time I’d heard of a clause like that. That’s why I’d like to thank Stade de Reims once again! The directors regularly asked me how things were going with my foundation in Zimbabwe. It just goes to show that when you try to do good, people notice and try to help you,” Marshall Munetsi tells the Ligue 1 website.
Appointed to the FIFPRO World Players’ Council
Marshall Munetsi’s fight is to give all children in his country and on the continent access to education. He adds, however, that he is not the only one working to change things. “There’s also Tino Kadewere, Marvelous Nakamba… Lots of African players are taking action. I know because we talk about it amongst ourselves. We know where we come from and how difficult it is to get by, so we communicate as much as we can to have a positive impact on the situation in our countries. I’m very happy to see that we’re making progress and showing governments the importance of education. I hope that one day it will be like in Europe, where you don’t have to pay to go to school, especially when you’re a child.
Marshall Munetsi is proof of commitment. And FIFPRO (the international federation of players’ unions) has appointed him to its World Players’ Council. An honour that the Zimbabwean underlines. “First of all, it’s a privilege and an immense honour to have been chosen. Trying to change things and help other players is very important. In Africa, there are a number of problems with bogus agents, who promise young players a career in Europe, lure them to destinations such as Madrid or Monaco and then get paid huge sums before disappearing into thin air. There are also clubs that take advantage of players financially. We need to protect young footballers, boys and girls, who aspire to play at the highest level and who are prevented from doing so by political interference, as is currently the case in Zimbabwe. My role is to get involved and raise awareness of these problems.
“I’ve seen too many children face obstacles”
His foundation came into being in 2019. First with 30 young Zimbabweans. Then, as time went on, the number grew to 60 members. Marshall Munetsi’s way of helping young people facing all kinds of difficulties. And above all to instil values in them. “Growing up in Zimbabwe, I saw too many children facing obstacles and difficulties that they shouldn’t be facing. I’m thinking in particular of orphans. In many African countries, education is not free. The result is that some children end up taking drugs, some girls end up married at a very young age, others become prostitutes… That’s what can happen to people who have no one to support them,” points out the 27-year-old.
He adds. “For all these reasons, education and sport must play a central role in their lives, because that’s what can change their destiny. Even if I don’t want to go into the details, a tragedy happened to one of my cousins, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. This story only reinforced my feeling that access to education can prevent people from finding themselves in certain difficult situations. The emphasis has been on helping young girls to find themselves as often as possible in a position of strength and as little as possible in a position of weakness”. Through his acting and his involvement in social issues, Marshall Munetsi conveys an image to children.