Soccer legend Gyan urges Zim youths to shun drugs Asamoah Gyan, who is on a visit to Zimbabwe, made the call after meeting Health and Child Care Minister  Dr Douglas Mombeshora, where they discussed issues including the empowerment of youths.

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke-Senior Reporter

Ghanaian football legend Asamoah Gyan has encouraged African footballers to use their influence to fight the rising scourge of drug and substance abuse among young people.

Gyan, who is on a visit to Zimbabwe, made the call after meeting Health and Child Care Minister  Dr Douglas Mombeshora, where they discussed issues including the empowerment of youths.

Drug use is a serious problem among youths in many African countries, fuelled by poverty and unemployment among other causes. 

Gyan said it is imperative that footballers invest in the youth to safeguard their future.

“We want to represent the youth, because we were taken off the streets when we started our careers, and here we are today. 

“So I think if we mentor these youngsters who are involved in drugs and other street activities, we can use our influence to get them off the streets. As I said, we represent the youth, and we’re going to do everything we can to get them off the streets,” he said.

Zimbabwe launched a national Drug Master Plan (2020-2025) in 2021 to address the issue of drug and substance abuse. 

This year, Government approved the Zimbabwe Multi-Drug and Substance Abuse Plan (2024-2030), a comprehensive plan to address the growing threat of drug and substance abuse to public health, economic growth, national security, and social stability. An inter-ministerial taskforce on drug and substance abuse is also in place.

The most commonly abused substances in Zimbabwe include alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, crystal meth, and controlled medicines such as codeine and broncleer.

Gyan emphasised the importance of mentoring young people to keep them occupied and away from drugs.

On Wednesday, he met President Mnangagwa and among the topics was youth development.

He said his meeting with the President was productive and laid the groundwork for future visits to Zimbabwe.

“We had a very successful meeting with the President. 

“As I said, I also represent the youth, and I told him what I could do to help young people in this country. He was really happy because the youth are our future. 

“He agreed that young people are the future, not just in Zimbabwe but in Africa. So we have a lot of plans. 

“If there’s something we can do to help young people, we will come to Zimbabwe and do whatever we need to do,” he said.

Gyan said he was working with partners to find investment opportunities in Zimbabwe’s health sector after meeting the Health Minister.

“We came to see what Zimbabwe needs, not just Zimbabwe, we’ve been doing this all over Africa, but I think it’s time to explore Zimbabwe as well. 

“We’ve been here for a few days, and we’ve seen what we can do to help young people and the Government. So I’m using my connections to make sure we come and explore.

“We spoke with Minister Mombeshora about how to explore investments and opportunities in the country’s health sector and how to empower young people. I believe I can use my connections and opportunities to come and invest in Zimbabwe. 

“So we discussed a lot about the health sector and the country as a whole. We felt that Zimbabwe is a land of opportunity that many investors can invest in. 

“Honestly, I already feel at home and love the country,” he said.

 They also discussed how to deal with pandemics, other diseases in Africa, and immunisation.

Gyan is the ambassador for Trek Secure, a Dubai-based healthcare company working on ways to track and effectively deal with health pandemics.

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