September 1, 2014 News

Despite growing up on an estate Ibrahim has made it…

Ibz celticIbrahim Kanu was born in Camberwell but grew up in and around the notorious Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, an estate that is known for its high levels of gang-related crime, territorialism, drug dealing and mass unemployment.

However for the young Ibrahim the story turned out differently. As a keen 12-year-old participant he met his first youth worker through 5 Star Active’s partner organisation Active Communities Network and soon started volunteering for the organisation.

404 Not Found “There wasn’t much for us to do in the estate I grew up in,” said Ibrahim. “But they helped me to get into a local football team and supported me.

“I started to do volunteering work with young people and Active Communities Network then started to send me on different courses, like how to deal with challenging behaviour, youth work – basically they helped me to gain more skills and qualifications.

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“I don’t know where I would have been without their help and support – I would probably be on the streets.”

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DSC_0120 Ibrahim is travelling up to Glasgow this weekend as a part of his ambassador duties, where he will represent the foundation and the work it delivers in London.

”I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of my youth workers,” said Ibrahim. ”They were and still are my role models, so to be asked to become an ambassador for Rio Ferdinand Foundation is a real privilege and I hope to make everyone proud by making a difference in the world.

”I’m really looking forward to the game and the dinner in Glasgow, it is going to be an extraordinary day with great footballers and celebreties – all coming together for a great cause and I’m sure it will be an fantastic experience.

”The Celtic fans are known for creating a special atmosphere and have a huge passion for the game, and that’s why everyone wants to play at Celtic Park, the Scots are tremendous in terms of raising money and supporting charities.”

As a child Ibrahim always had a key interest in sport and through this he got involved in coaching and gained his 1st4Sport FA Level 1 and 2 awards in coaching football and has now been working for several years as a football coach – working with young people from 10 to 24-years-old.

But life was not always a piece of cake for Ibrahim, who has seen a number of his peers fall into a life of crime and violence with several of them serving prison sentences.036 (3)

“I have friends who didn’t go this way because they thought there was no point of doing volunteering work and certificates, but I thought it would only be good for myself and benefit me in the long run.

“And look what happened to me – I am now giving back to the communities. I love doing it and I will hopefully always give it back.”

The 21-year-old has one more year to finish at university before he gains his BA (Hons.) Sports Exercise Science in Teaching and Coaching degree.

Ibrahim spent 2013 and 2014 developing his coaching skills after meeting the then Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas and after impressing the Portuguese with his enthusiasm and dedication, Ibrahim ended up earning a contract as his assistant, working with Tottenham’s First Team for six months.

“Through working with the charities – I met tons of celebrities like Boris Becker and Andre Villas-Boas and meeting him particularly turned into a very good thing for me.

“I met Villas-Boas again a year later, where he saw me doing some training and he said to me ‘you are doing really well with your training sessions’, and he then invited me down to Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground and actually went a few times.

“It was a good contact and I kept the relationship going, having several training sessions with the first team, but unfortunately Villas-Boas is not at Spurs anymore,” said ‘Ibra’ as he was known at Spurs.

However the friendship continues as Villas-Boas has invited Ibrahim to visit him at his new club in Russia – Zenit St. Petersburg.

“It was great to have Ibra working with the Spurs first team,” said Villas-Boas. “His hard work really showed when helping to assist with setting up and supporting me on the drills.

“Ibra settled in really well with all the players and staff at the club due to his driven personality.”

This driven personality has helped Ibrahim get where he is now and who knows where in the future.

Celtic Maestrio 20_08 Program AdvertPaul McStay’s Maestros take on Rio Ferdinand’s All-Stars in the MAESTRIO match, sponsored by Flip and Magners, at Celtic Park on Sunday, September 7 and tickets are on sale now – maximum of 10 per person – priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.

Tickets are also available to purchase ONLINE or by calling 0871 226 1888*** or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office.

Premium tickets (£35) and corporate packages (£125) are also available by calling 0871 226 1888*** (Option 4) or emailing

*** Calls cost up to 10p per minute, telecoms provider dependent. Mobile and other provider charges may vary. For customer enquiries relating to existing purchases only, please call 0141 551 4493.