As we may recall, Sports Africa Network, last year in Dakar, teamed up with the West African Research Center (WARC) on June 20th, 21st, 22nd, 2019 to convene its 13th international conference on Popular Sports, Mass Sports and Elite Sports in Everyday Africa.
Last week, on Saturday, May 02nd, 2020 (from 3pm to past 5pm), Sports Africa again joined issue with WARC to organize a virtual discussion on the documentary “Sadio Mane, Made in Senegal”. The debate was moderated by Professor Martha Saavedra (University of California Berkeley) and included the following panelists: Professor Simon A. Akindes (University of Wisconsin, Parkside), Professor Peter Alegi (Michigan State University), Dr Tarminder Kaur (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Professor Ousmane Sene (WARC and University Cheikh Anta Diop). Prior to opening the floor, the moderator invited panelists and viewers to see excerpts from the documentary “Sadio Mane, Made in Senegal”, an introduction to the current life and achievements of a rather shy and humble stellar soccer champion currently featuring in the Senegalese national soccer team as well as being a professional striker in the squad of the english football team Liverpool Football Club.
In the ensuing discussions, panelists focussed on the means and conditions which contributed to lifting up to the status of international star a young boy from a remote village in Senegal who could not boast a decent pair of sporting shoes in the first years he was toying with his lucky star and wildly running behind the whims and fancies of a soccer ball which, ultimatelty, made of him the much-admired and rich celebrity he now is.
Both panelists and viewers also discussed other issues such as the quest for success of young african sportsmen and women in stadiums and track fields and basket ball hoops in Europe, the USA, Asia and the Middle East. The current situation of various sporting disciplines in Africa was explored while Sadio Mane was also discussed and viewed as a role model whose success and apt adjustment to his glittering sporting universe as well as to the values and humane virtues of his remote village and community in the southern parts of Senegal are there to teach young africans that poverty is neither a curse nor a fatality and success comes to those who, like Mane, believe that unrelenting efforts, uncompromising belief in oneself and one’s dream are the guaranteed paths to a successful and fully accomplished life.