A RETIRED former consultant anaesthetist for Basingstoke hospital has asked the public for funds to feed footballers in West Africa for a month.

Dr Keith Thomson has helped raise nearly £1,000 to keep the Freetown Amputee Footballers alive during lockdown. 

Dr Thomson said: "The 60 members of the football club are more challenged than most during the pandemic.

"The majority lost limbs, as young children, to the RUF weapon of choice - the machete, during the 1999 rebel invasion of Sierra Leone.

"Like many less privileged people in Sub-Saharan Africa, they live a hand to mouth existence – which means what you earn during a day is what you eat.

"During lockdown this becomes especially difficult when you normally survive by begging or doing small trading on the streets."

The retired doctor has asked people to donate £27, the coast of a 25 kg bag of rice, which will feed a footballer and a few dependants for a month.

Dr Thomson met members of the football team and their coach Albert Mustapha practising on Lumley beach this year.

Some of the issues that have arisen include the Tanzanian president John Pombe Joseph Magufuli saying: "Africans should learn to live with coronavirus just like HIV."

He added that some African governments are inflating the Covid cases in their countries so that they can get funds from international organisations."

To help feed the footballers, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROSomeoneSpecialPage?pageUrl=Food4footballers.