Sulley Muntari, Ghana Player at Brazil World Cup, Hands Out Cash to Disadvantaged Locals
If the World Cup were being played for generosity, this guy might win. Ghana's Sulley Muntari is handing out cash to poor people living in Maceió, where Ghana's Black Stars were practicing at the city's Estádio Rei Pelé on Thursday. In a grainy video, Muntari is seen walking the streets of the city near where the team is staying, talking to locals, and handing out cash from his pocket.
Muntari is one of the team's best players, who plays for AC Milan when he's not on the field for Ghana. He was visiting a neighborhood in Maceió called Trapiche on Thursday when he distributed the cash.
According to a translation from Portuguese-language site Globoesporte, Trapiche is behind the stadium where the team has been practicing. Resident Mauricéia Lopes told Globo that Muntari did more for the community than politicians had.
We were thrilled. First, he distributed money to children, then to adults. ... I told him, "We'll be cheering loudly for Ghana here."
Lopes also said it was the first time a soccer player from the stadium had ever visited the neighborhood. Ghana head coach James Kwesi Appiah reportedly gave Muntari permission to take the police-accompanied tour of the neighborhood, according to 101 Great Goals.
Brazil's extremely pricey World Cup has powerfully clashed with extreme poverty in the country, and Cup-related expenditures have prompted protests. Muntari's giving, however small an impact it may have in the long run, drew attention against the backdrop of extreme income disparity in the country.
Muntari received a yellow card in the tied Ghana-Germany game on Saturday, meaning he won't be playing in the country's upcoming match against Portugal. He also memorably escorted a half-naked streaker off the pitch during that game, after giving the man a hug.
So Muntari is basically a giant teddy bear. On Saturday, the player again stepped away from his hotel to chat with locals while the rest of the team went inside. According to another Globoesporte article, one little boy, Vinicius Mota, waited outside the Black Stars' hotel for a chance to check out the team and was extremely excited to have the chance to meet Muntari. The player signed a sticker book Mota had full of photos of Muntari in action.
I was very happy. He signed my sticker book! Not to mention now the impression of being a very nice guy. ... It was worth waiting here, I'll save my album with great affection.
It's good to see a World Cup player trying to make a difference, even in a small way.