ASMIR BEGOVIC officially launched his own fund-raising Foundation at a star-studded event in Newcastle-Under-Lyme on Thursday evening.
The Bosnian international was joined by a large number of his Stoke City teammates, manager Mark Hughes, Chairman Peter Coates and international compatriot Eden Dzeko at the Swan with Two Necks pub - the venue of the launch.
Begovic is hoping for the Foundation to raise valuable funds to finance facilities, both here in the Potteries and back in his native country Bosnia, to help and get children off the streets and participating in sport.
“I’ve been in a very fortunate position for the majority of my life, whereby I have been given the chance to work in incredible facilities to help realise my dream of becoming a professional footballer,” he told stokecityfc.com.
“Unfortunately, not everybody is given such an opportunity, so by doing this I am just hoping to give something back to the community and give those children an opportunity of getting themselves involved in sport.
“I am a huge sportsperson in general, so it isn’t all about football, it is just about getting them involved in something that they enjoy in a safe and controlled environment.”
He added: “We want to build or re-build facilities to try and get kids involved to be more active and sociable. If we build just one football pitch, great; If we manage to build ten, even better.
“It has been a lifelong ambition of mine to set-up a foundation like this, so it is a very proud day for me and for everyone else who has helped to make this possible.”
The ‘Asmir Begovic Foundation’ is already proving to be a success back in his native country following its unofficial launch earlier this month, attracting the attention of a number of youngsters buoyed by the national teams recent progression through to next summers World Cup Finals.
“The feedback I’ve had from the guys back in Bosnia has been absolutely fantastic,” he added.
“Obviously the country is riding a crest of a wave at the moment following an historic qualifying campaign, and there are a lot of people wanting to get involved in football, and other sports too.
"Bosnia is very much in need of help everywhere and that's why it was great for us to qualify for the World Cup finals.
"In sporting terms, it's the biggest thing to happen to the country. It's given everyone joy and that's great because that was one of our motivations for qualifying.”
The Foundation has already received backing from the likes of Nike and Sells, and Begovic was quick to thank them for showing incredible support.
“We are very fortunate to have been given the backing that we have by such huge and successful brands,” he said.
“They have all bought into what we are trying to achieve, and they like myself and anybody else who donates, they are determined to help and give youngsters, both here in Stoke and over in Bosnia, an opportunity to enjoy sport in good facilities.”
For more information regarding the foundation, please click HERE