Callum Hudson-Odoi has been making the most of his summer time off, returning to Ghana for the first time in a decade to visit local communities in the capital Accra.
The 20-year-old has a strong family heritage in the west African country, with his father kickstarting the football lineage when he played for Heart of Oaks, a top-flight team based in the city. Bradley, Callum’s older brother, was also born there and represented the Ghanaians up to Under-20 youth level as he advanced through the ranks at Fulham.
After holidaying in Ghana as a child, Callum had not visited his father’s homeland for over 10 years, mostly due to a busy summer schedule representing England at various age groups.
However, days after lifting the Champions League trophy in Porto, the winger was packing his bags again and heading to Africa in order to reconnect with family and make a positive difference in the developing nation.
Among his many activities in the capital, Hudson-Odoi visited local schools and spent time with the capital’s young people, even being treated to an impromptu welcome chorus at one event, while also donating vital supplies to foodbanks in the region.
Hudson-Odoi has plans to further his charitable endeavours in Accra and spent time meeting the tourism and sports ministers, discussing with them his hope of inspiring the next generation of Ghanaian footballers and improving grassroots facilities across the country.
There was also a special meeting with Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana (pictured top), again to talk about projects that could help to improve football infrastructure and opportunities for children and young people.
However, it was soon back to the more familiar surroundings and sounds of the football field. After visiting his father’s former club, the tricky winger then got involved in some charity games with the locals, raising funds for nearby schools.
The youngster led his team against a side captained by Ghanaian singer-songwriter King Promise, which drew great interest. Accra has a strong Chelsea support base and there was understandable excitement at seeing one of the team’s stars up close, particularly given his family ties to the city and the Blues’ recent crowning as champions of Europe, as well as one of the country’s most famous musical stars.
For Hudson-Odoi, it was a chance to give something back to a country that has played such an important, albeit indirect, role in his own football career. It won’t be the last time he visits Accra looking to make a positive difference, either.