The United defender is in East Africa to meet President Yoweri Museveni, who has offered Ferdinand - backed by Nike, West Ham and Manchester United - land on which to build a Proline Soccer Academy.
"I thought there might be the odd fan and a couple of workers from the football school at the airport," Ferdinand said of the throng that jammed the 10-mile route from Entebbe airport to the capital, Kampala. "I was waving out of the window but then was told that I should really acknowledge it so I stood out of the roof. At one point I welled up."
The Observer says Ferdinand met President Museveni yesterday evening. Work on the academy, which will focus on education as well as football, will start immediately and should be finished by the end of next year. It targets 150 children aged three to 17, half of whom will be drawn from underprivileged families. The school will cost about £300,000.