Why Partick Thistle legend Jimmy Bone is backing Africa On The Ball

Partick Thistle legend Jimmy Bone has become a patron for the Africa on the Ball charity
Partick Thistle legend Jimmy Bone has become a patron for the Africa on the Ball charity

Jimmy Bone, scorer of one of Partick Thistle’s most revered goals in their history, has become a patron for the Africa on the Ball charity.

Bone scored the fourth goal in Thistle’s famous 4-1 Scottish League Cup final win over Celtic at Hampden in 1971.

It sent half-time shockwaves of disbelief around Scottish football as Jags went in 4-0 up on Jock Stein’s side.

It was also one of more than 130 he scored in a playing career which also took him to Norwich City, Sheffield United, Celtic, Arbroath, St Mirren and Hearts and earned him two full Scotland caps.

Bone also had spells as manager of Stenhousemuir and as caretaker at Thistle.

But it was a spell as a boss in Africa which persuaded him to support Africa on the Ball - a Scottish charity using football which provides access to schools, employment opportunities and healthcare education to African communities by supporting and growing grass-roots football clubs.

Jimmy was appointed manager of Zambian side Power Dynamos in 1991 and under his guidance they became the first sub-Saharan Africa’s team to win a continental competition when they lifted the African Cup Winners Cup.

He said: “I really didn’t have to think about saying yes to become a patron of Africa on the Ball because I really believe in what the organisation does.

“Having been to Zambia, I’ve seen the impact organisations such as Africa on the Ball can have in helping young people.”

“Football can be a great tool to engage young people and help them in all walks of life. I look back with great fondness on my time in Zambia and encourage people to get involved with Africa on the Ball’s work helping to develop education and healthcare in communities through football.”

The news comes just two weeks after the charity launched their Supporters Club which gives the public the opportunity to sponsor the work of Africa on the Ball and members of its community programmes and from as little as £4 per month.

Africa on the Ball formed Kalingalinga on the Ball FC in 2011, helping the club grow from a community venture to a fourth-tier club in Zambia, whilst developing food and community little picking programmes and an educational scholarship funds for players to finish their basic schooling. The charity has future plans to build a community club house which will also be used as a community learning and health centre, alongside an academy.

The charity formed an outreach programme in which Kalingalinga on the Ball FC players undertake educational and football focused sessions in deprived surrounding communities, including the local orphanage and primary schools.

Andrew Jenkin, Founding Trustee of Africa on the Ball said: “Asking Jimmy to become a patron of Africa on the Ball’s work was an easy decision.

“Jimmy is not only incredibly passionate about the role that football can play in helping develop young people, but having spent some great years in Zambia, is also aware of the impact programmes such as ours can have in deprived communities.”

There are four levels of membership available; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum at £4, £10, £15 and £20 a month respectively. Supporters receive a range of benefits including personal video messages from the players, access to VIP functions and sponsors’ names on the kit. Membership to the Supporters’ Club is available via the website.