Kylian Mbappé arrived on Thursday, July 6, in Cameroon, his Father Wilfrid Mbappé’s native country Cameroon. As soon as he stepped off the private jet that flew him from the United States to Yaoundé, the captain of the French men’s football team was greeted by a cheering crowd filled with excitement.
Airport staff, men, women, children were all shouting his name at the top of their voices, everyone wanting to touch him or take a selfie with him and as well get an autograph.
Filled with Joy and smiles all over his face, the 24-year-old talented played approached the crowd and begun greeting them. Police and bodyguards struggled to keep him distance away from the crowd.
His motorcade then sped off to a school for hearing-impaired children which has received funding from the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward’s foundation. The 2018 World Cup winner had the opportunity to play football with the children, who were visibly pleased with his visit.
Away from the hustle and bustle of his country, The France forward Mbappé will spend three days on Cameroonian soil, staying at Village Noah, the hotel complex owned by former tennis player Yannick Noah, we he will engage in couple of programs before leaving Africa. Friday’s program includes a meeting with the prime minister.
On Saturday, he will travel to Douala to visit another school financed by his foundation, before heading to the island of Djébalè, where his father is originally from. His grandfather, Philippe Mbappé, told reporters: “That’s the circle of life: you start from the roots to the fruit, and a fruit that falls will always regrow through the roots.”
For many Cameroonian Nationals, the sportsman’s arrival is a recognition for the country where his ancestors originate. “Even if he plays for France, he has half Cameroonian blood in his body. Coming to the land of your ancestors is always a blessing.
He’s come to receive the blessing of his forefathers, the blessing of his country,” said Roger Sylvain Tagne, a carpenter in Douala. For this FC Barcelona fan, the arrival of the champion will also enable young people to “dream big.”
“Mbappé is an extraordinary player and I hope he leaves PSG for good. All the young people I know are inspired by him. He expresses himself well, he’s not involved in scandals, he’s a role model for young people,” said Sonny, an apprentice carpenter.
At Le Vent d’Etoudi, a second-division football club in Yaoundé, the players and coaching staff have just one objective: getting the most advice and motivation from Mbappé as possible. They will be playing a gala match with the French football star this Friday.
Passy Atangana, one of the club’s midfielders, is looking forward to spending time with the star whose every match he watches. “I’m so excited I can’t stay still,” he said. For him, playing with PSG’s top scorer is a “gift,” and also an opportunity to pick up a few tips for his future career.
“Seeing Mbappé is a dream, and when I say dream, I mean that they hope that one day they can be like him,” said retired colonel Benoît Akini, administrator of Le Vent d’Etoudi. He said he was “very happy and honored” by Mbappé’s visit.
The feeling was mutual. In a video posted on social media, the player can be heard replying to a person who asks if this is his first visit to Cameroon: “It’s not the first time, but I’m very happy.”