Madonna to open soccer academy in Malawi

Madonna has been inspired by her son David to launch the first soccer academy in Malawi.

The African nation holds a special place in the pop icon's heart as four of her six children were adopted from the country, where she has been focusing her charity work since the launch of her Raising Malawi non-profit organisation in 2006.

Madonna is currently living in Lisbon, Portugal to allow 12-year-old David to attend the youth academy of famed Portuguese soccer club Benfica as he pursues his dream of becoming a professional athlete, and his passion for the sport has become the driving force behind the singer's plans to build a similar facility for kids in poverty-stricken Malawi.

"It is actually David's idea that we should build a football academy," she tells The Associated Press.

The Material Girl hitmaker first raised the idea with local officials while visiting Malawi last month (Jul18), and bosses at the national soccer association have warmly embraced the plans - even offering up land for the construction of the facility right by the main stadium in the capital city of Lilongwe.

"We are very excited with this window of opportunity that has arisen," says Malawi Football Association president Walter Nyamilandu. "It will complement our efforts to establish football academies in the country."

"We presented our proposal of the academy to Madonna and they (Raising Malawi officials) are satisfied with it," he adds.

The news is a dream come true for young David, who is eager to raise the profile of the sport in Malawi and help to propel the national team to the global stage.

"We will start slow and grow bigger, enter African Cups and hopefully grow as big as we can be," David shares.

In addition to the aspiring soccer star, Madonna is mother to daughter Mercy, also 12, and five-year-old twins Stella and Esther, as well as biological children Lourdes, 21, and Rocco, her son with director Guy Ritchie, who turned 18 last week (11Aug18).

The singer also celebrated a milestone birthday of her own on Thursday (16Aug18) as she turned 60.

She marked the occasion by releasing video footage of her performance at New York's Met Gala in May (18) as a special thank you to fans who had donated to a fundraiser for children in Malawi, which was launched to coincide with her big day.

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