THE UNIVERSITY of Wolverhampton played host last week to World Cup legend Roger Milla, as part of a new partnership.
The former Cameroon international footballer became a household name in 1990, when his exploits in the World Cup, held in Italy, took rank outsiders Cameroon to the quarter finals.
Milla is the oldest player ever to appear in a World Cup competition, turning out for his country at the age of 42 in 1994, and becoming the oldest goalscorer while he was at it, putting one past Russia. England fans will remember him particularly from the 1990 quarter final tie, which Cameroon at one point led, before losing to England 3-2. Milla was equally famous for his goal celebrations, which involved dancing around the corner flag.
On his retirement Milla, now 61, set up the Coeur d'Afrique foundation to help under-privileged children.
Last year the University sponsored a new Multimedia Centre in Roger Milla's birthplace, Yaoundé, which will help promote English language and ICT skills and will give children from disadvantaged backgrounds free access.
As part of the link-up Roger visited the University with staff from the foundation.
The trip included a visit to the University's Walsall Campus to see its sports facilities, giving a talk about his career and taking part in a football match recreating the famous World Cup match in 1990 between England and Cameroon. The foundation took time to visit Wolverhampton Wanderers, where they were treated to a tour of Molineux by Wolves' Chief Executive Jez Moxey, followed by a visit to the all-new Compton training ground. Roger was also guest of honour at Wolves' League One match against Rotherham.
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Geoff Layer, said: "It was great to welcome Roger and members of the foundation and we are really pleased with the partnership we have with them. Obviously, Roger is known for his feats on the football field. But what's even more impressive is that he has chosen to use his fame to help others in his retirement. Millions of children in Africa don't have access to education so it is vital that foundations like Roger's exist and operate.
"We are both organisations that are passionate about education and giving people opportunities to learn and advance themselves, and improve their lives."
Roger, who became globally known after scoring four goals in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, said: "I was extremely happy to be invited to the University. Everybody was very welcoming. The foundation is very pleased to be working with the University and I look forward to working with them over many years."
The University has built close links with Cameroon and in the last three years has recruited over 120 students from there.