Former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue has launched his own football academy in the Ivory Coast.
The Gunners cult hero officially announced his retirement from football in October 2020 and has since spent time working with the Galatasaray academy in Turkey.
Eboue, 37, is regarded by many as a cult figure at Arsenal and was part of the defence which helped set a Champions League record of eight straight clean sheets on their way to the 2006 final.
“Today I have left football and stopped playing, but I want to use what I have learned in football to help the young guys,” he said.
“To give them my knowledge. Without that help there would be no Emmanuel Eboue so thanks to their help and thanks to Jean-Marc Guillou because he helped me in the [ASEC] academy.”
Guillou, a close friend of Arsene Wenger and founder of the famed Abidjan football school Académie de Sol Beni, is credited for finding the likes of Eboue and Kolo Toure before they joined Arsenal’s former feeder club Beveren in Belgium.
Eboue admits he’s inspired by the work Guillou did producing some of Africa’s best young talents, and says it’s his “wish” to follow in the footsteps of the 75-year-old.
“Actually, I have created EEFC – the Emmanuel Eboue Football Club – and I created that in the past year,” he says.
“I spent a lot of time in England and a lot of time in Turkey, and I helped the youth teams in Galatasaray.
“And now I have decided to return to my country to help my young guys. In the past week I have been recruiting in across the country in lots of cities and thanks God went really well.”
Stadium and training facilities have also been planned and Eboue himself is aiming to bring through the next generation of young footballers in his country by utilising the experiences he collected as a professional.
Eboue made 214 appearances in all competitions over seven seasons with the Gunners.