Nana Badu, the founder of Badu Sports was inducted into the England Lionhearts squad by former England and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell following his organisations contributions to society during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BADU Sports is Sports volunteer group that uses sports to help local people across London and help feed vulnerable people, delivering food parcels and setting up a helpline for the BAME community.
Badu expressed his delight in being named in the squad at his company's base in Stratford and will wear the no.12 for the Lionhearts.
"This belongs to the organisation and it really and truly should be for all of the team because it's the team in the community who have done all the work,” he told the FA’s official website.
"When lockdown came, my amazing team was able to identify what the issues were going to be and what the community needed.”
Badu credits football for giving him a sense of direction in life. Having moved to East London from Ghana as a child, he struggled academically and spent time living on a friend’s sofa. Football gave him a purpose and something to work towards in life, and it ultimately inspired him to give back to others.
He created BADU Sports in 2008 with an aim to give guidance to underprivileged youth. His organization has since set up annual summer camps, provides support services for families and forms teams across a variety of different sports.
"Most important for us is to understand their circumstances and challenges and we try to use sport to empower and educate young people but also uplift them so that they feel they belong, they're worthy and capable,” Badu explained. “It’s all about broadening the mindset of young people and families.”
NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore and popular quiz master Jay Flynn were also some of the names listed in the Lionhearts squad. The initiative pays homage to individuals who have raised money for different charities over the last six months.