Genoa striker Yayah Kallon had a very special dedication when scoring the Coppa Italia winner against Perugia. ‘Gino Strada was a great man who did so much for Africa.’
Kallon got his debut goal in the Grifone jersey, deep into stoppages for a 3-2 victory in the First Round of the tournament.
“Unfortunately, Friday was also the day in which we lost Gino Strada,” 20-year-old Kallon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Strada was a doctor who founded Emergency in 1994, the charity organisation that brings medical assistance and builds hospitals in war-torn areas or those damaged by natural disasters.
He died of heart failure at the age of 73.
“Strada was a great man, the whole world should thank him. I dedicate my goal against Perugia to him, even though I’m well aware it can never be enough to thank a medic who did so much for my country, where he built hospitals to look after hundreds of thousands of people, and for all of Africa, also during the Ebola outbreak of 2012.”
Kallon knows too well what fate he could’ve had if he had not left Sierra Leone and traversed Africa to reach Italy by boat.
“I had to leave, or the alternative was to remain and be recruited as a child soldier. It had already happened to some members of my family. At that stage, I spoke to my parents and we made the decision.
“I’ve not been home since, but I speak to my parents every two or three days. I told my Mum that I scored for Genoa and she was so happy.”
💫 “Il mio gol? Lo dedico a Gino #Strada. Un grande uomo, il mondo intero deve dirgli grazie. Per il mio paese ha fatto moltissimo, ha costruito ospedali e curato persone. Ha fatto tantissimo per tutta l’Africa, sono triste per tutto questo”.
— Genoa CFC (@GenoaCFC) August 15, 2021