Children at orphanage in Ethiopia to be kitted out in claret and blue

Aston Villa has donated football kits to an orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity in Ethiopia.

The Premiership football club has given 15 of its claret and blue shirts, shorts and socks to a champion team of orphans at the Asco orphanage outside Addis Ababa.

The donation came thanks to efforts from Benjamin McFadyean, a Catholic convert and Aston Villa fan who spent five months coaching the orphans last year.

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Mr McFadyean said the orphans, who all have HIV, had won several tournaments and usually gave a “good thumping” to touring teams from international schools.

He said they chose the name “Asco Villa” themselves and even painted the club’s crest on the wall of their changing room.

Mr McFadyean, a Eucharistic minister at Farm Street, west London, said he came to Asco orphanage almost by mistake. He had meant to volunteer with the Community of St Jean, but when he arrived at their house in Addis Ababa in the middle of the night “they said ‘we don’t know who you are’”.

So instead he made his way to the Asco orphanage, inspired only by a YouTube video he had seen, and worked first as a teacher and then as a football coach.

With other volunteers and the children themselves Mr McFadyean worked to turn a “rough bit of terrain” at the orphanage into a “proper football training facility”, with changing rooms, a dugout and even corner flags.

He said the orphans had very few possessions, often just a few items of clothing, and he wanted to “create something for them which was really theirs”.

Benjamin McFadyean is still seeking football boots for the children. You can help by emailing him at mcfadyean@googlemail.com.

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