Wigan Athletic of England defender, Leon Aderemi Balogun has come out with an explanation of his decision to join a popular charity project in the country where he plies his soccer trade, megasportsarena.com reports.
Although his career has taken a plummet since he first moved to England with Brighton &Hove Albion, from where he joined Wigan on loan this past January, Balogun says he does not allow his personal setbacks affect his loving heart.
With the desire to help people in need always top of his mind, the former Fortuna Düsseldorf, Darmstadt and SV Mainz of Germany stopper stressed that he joined Common Goal project because he wants to help people in need.
The Super Eagles’ stopper, who was born in Germany but got his debut with Nigeria in 2014, after committing his international future to his father’s country, added that he will continue giving the best he can to help people, even at a point he is struggling to revive his career with club and country.
His charity efforts in England are an extension of his activities during his time playing in the German Bundesliga with Mainz, when he provided a significant donation for a young cancer sufferer, which he says was only a little of what he would love to do.
While explaining how it all began, Balogun also revealed the levels of encouragement he got from Eagles’ fellow-central defender, William Troost-Ekong and Nigerian-born Germany former international, Dennis Aogo.
Balogun told Sky Sports: “I am part of a big team at Common Goal. The first time I heard about it was through Dennis Aogo because he was one of the first guys to join in Germany. Then my good friend William Troost-Ekong from the Super Eagles joined too.
“He put me in touch and it gathered pace from there. It is funny because their office in Germany is on the same street where I went to primary school in Berlin. Maybe it is just me but when I walk around the streets and I see homeless people, the way that it has become almost acceptable is shocking to me. You just take it like it is normal but it should not be normal.
“For me, this is just about doing the right thing. I want to give if it is the right thing to do. We are all part of this system and it is natural to think of yourself and your family first. But I am always trying to find ways to help where I can do something if it is in my power.
“I think football players could do a lot more. I try not to judge because people have their own things going on but, as lots of Common Goal members say, we have a responsibility. Everybody has a responsibility.
“I was in a nice hotel and I looked down the street and there was a church. There was an archway there with some pillars that provided some shelter and you could see three or four tents where people were sleeping.
“It is ironic that it was in front of a church too because you think of that as a place that should be providing shelter and looking after the community. We have just become careless as a society.
“People were saying it was amazing that I had done that as a football player. That is always my problem with it. I don’t like to differentiate between me and other people because footballers are normal people.
“People like to make a lot out of it. Some people do stuff for their image and I don’t want to be one of them. The way this world works, there are a lot of people with a lot of money and then there are so, so, so many more people with almost nothing. It is our responsibility to help get them on their feet.”