Football star Kylian Mbappe arrived in Cameroon to an ecstatic welcome from fans Thursday (Jul. 06) for a visit that includes charity work and a trip to his father’s village.
The trip is an opportunity for Mbappe to visit in Yaounde and Douala two schools supported by his own charitable foundation, Inspired by KM, his team in Paris said in a statement.
Many among the hundreds who greeted the 24-year-old forward were dressed in his Paris Saint-Germain team’s football jersey for the occasion.
They excitedly screamed his name as he emerged from the airport in the capital Yaoundé.
"It is a source of great pride, as we know, he is of Cameroonian heritage and as a Parisian supporter, it is an honour to welcome him", Arsene Mbila, the president of Cameroon's association of PSG fans said.
"We are very happy to welcome the best player in the world today."
Delors Bongongui, another PSG supporter doubbled down: "We are here to make Kylian Mbappe's stay a pleasant one. It is a source of pride for us to witness this historic moment because returning to the land of one's ancestors is something magnificent and unforgettable."
Meeting young footballers
The captain of the national team will stay during his 3-day visit at a Yaoundé hotel complex belonging to the family of French former tennis champion Yannick Noah.
On Friday (Jul. 07), he is due to visit a school for the deaf and hearing impaired in the capital’s suburbs, according to his itinerary seen by AFP.
He is also set to take part in a basketball game, with expectations it will involve retired NBA player Joakim Noah, the son of Yannick. Later, he will take part in a football match against second-division Cameroon club FC Vent d’Etoudi.
"What is expected of him is that from time to time he comes back here to see what is happening, what people's real lives are and encourage the youth playing football, so that the new generation can also reach the top like him," Yaoundé airport official Lionel Owona explained.
Saturday (Jul. 08) shall see him head to the economic capital, Douala, to visit a school and then go to Djebale, his father Wilfried Mbappe’s village. His father left Cameroon at a young age for France where he became a football trainer.
All smiles, Mbappé greeted a group of about a hundred traditional dancers who performed in his honour.
He is set to meet with Cameroonian officials including Premier Joseph Dion Ngute.
The visit comes amid ongoing questions about Mbappé’s future at Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappe said last month that he would not extend his contract, which expires next year but has indicated he wants to remain for a final season.
The club must therefore sell the player in the current transfer window, otherwise, they will likely lose him for nothing when his deal ends.
On Wednesday (Jul. 05), PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi insisted that Mbappe “must sign a new contract” if he wants to remain at the club next season.
He joined PSG from Monaco in August 2017 in a 180-million-euro ($196-million) deal and has gone on to establish himself as one of the world’s most prominent players.