Panaji, Jan 13: Matti Steinmann is SC East Bengal's joint-top scorer in Hero ISL-7 so far, along with Jacques Maghoma. The German midfielder has already won the fans over with his artistry on the pitch and his affable demeanor off it.
Steinmann's five goal-contributions (three goals and two assists) have been the most from any SCEB player this season, and his 20th minute strike in the Red-and-Golds' 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC on Saturday helped his side register their second Hero ISL victory.
Besides being a steady performer on the field, the 26-year old is currently participating in a very noble cause. He has launched the Matti Runs For Water crowd funding campaign on betterplace.org to help an international charity providing fresh drinking water in India.
For every kilometre that he runs this season, the former Germany U-20 international donates €10. Shy and meek as always, he doesn't wish to publicize his social work. At the same time, however, he emphasizes that being environmentally-conscious is the need of the hour.
In this conversation with sceastbengal.co, Steinmann throws light on the project and how it works...
Q. Matti runs for SC East Bengal and he does that with some panache as we have seen. Tell us something about the other side of Matti Steinmann where he runs for water...
It was an idea from an NGO back in Germany. They provide drinking water projects all over the world. They also operate in India. I just try to play a part in this cause and donate for every kilometre that I run this season. I've done it so far and raised some money already. It's a good cause.
Q. What prompted you to come forward and engage with something like this?
This NGO called Viva con Agua is based out of Hamburg and they started this project a couple of months ago where football players run for water projects all over the world. I noticed this and got in touch with them before our season started. I started contributing my bit from our first match for some water projects in East Africa. Then I came to learn that they also work for Indian water projects and I made up this website (https://www.betterplace.org/de/fundraising-events/36361-matti-runs-for-water-i-run-we-all-support). I'll keep doing it for the whole season.
Q. The money raised from your novel initiative goes to a project in India that Viva con Agua supports. Can you throw some more light on this and how it works?
The NGO is working together with the World Health Organization and some other local organizations. All the money raised from this project goes straight towards these organizations, and they try to promote education and the importance of clean drinking water and sanitization.
Q. We have seen you pick up all the waste and bin them after training every other day...you don't like wastage of paper; the laundry people have filled us in on that...environment is close to your heart, isn't it?
Environment is a very important topic in terms of climate change. It's important to be environmentally-conscious. Given the problems facing us due to global climate change, I think we've to change the way we live. I try to avoid wasting anything. I don't think it's a big deal; it's just about being more environmentally-conscious yourself and spreading awareness.
Q. Finally, you have mesmerised the fans already with your silken skills. A message for them to join you in your one-of-a-kind initiative.
If you're keen to support my initiative, you can visit the website and donate whatever you can because every bit counts.
For every kilometre he runs in a Hero Indian Super League game, Matti Steinmann will donate €10 to Viva con Agua's trusted project in India that aims to provide better access to clean drinking water through rainwater collection systems.