LIBREVILLE The worlds best-paid footballer, Samuel Etoo, launched an Aids campaign ahead of the opening Africa Cup of Nations match on Monday.
The 3-0: Afcon Without Aids campaign was initiated by the foundation of the wife of the Gabonese president, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba.
At a Press conference ahead of Gabons group C game against Niger, Etoo said that Aids was still considered a taboo in Africa.
We need to change this, we have to talk about Aids. I am pleased to be able to contribute towards this.
The former African Footballer of the Year said players also needed to be involved in the fight against Aids.
It is not enough to stop at titles, we have to get the message out there.
Michel Sidibe, chief executive of UNAids, which is also involved in the project, said that the 3-0 stands for: Zero infection, zero deaths and zero discrimination.
Sidibe said it made a lot of sense that Etoo, who plays his club football at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, where he reportedly earns ₣20 million euros ($26 million) per year, was involved.
Etoo is not only an African icon, he is known throughout the world and especially now that he is playing in Eastern Europe, as that is the area where Aids is developing the fastest.
Etoo and Bongo Ondimba were in the Stade de lAmiti, where they were part of a group of dignitaries and children that released 50 000 red-and-white balloons ahead of the match to publicise the campaign.
Cameroon, whom Etoo captains, failed to qualify for the 28th edition of the African football showpiece, which is being co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.