On ‘rubble pitches’, Senegalese youngsters dream big

On the outskirts of Dakar, football is a passion for both adults and children.

Young players here hope to one day emulate their idols, currently competing at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Every afternoon in the town of Diameguene Sicap Mbao, young fans gather on a football field “made of rubble and garbage” to play their favourite game.

Diameguene Sicap Mbao is an area heavily affected by the rains and floods that have hit Senegal in recent years. And locals say it’s getting worse.

Rainwater has been gaining ground and destroying some playgrounds and football fields.

To keep the joy of football alive, the community filled the fields with rubble from destroyed homes, plus whatever debris and garbage they could find.

“There was a time when this ground was underwater,” says Khadim Diouf, a member of the neighbourhood sports association.

“To get it back, we had to fill it with garbage and sand so that we could play here again.” says the 30-year-old, who as a child used to play in the same area.

Walking around the area, Diouf shows how part of the region still has stagnant water from floods that hit the neighbourhood in October.

“Look at these children, where they stay, there are lots of broken bottles. You can’t stay 30 minutes without one of them getting hurt,” says Diameguene Sicap Mbao resident Baye Modou Diop.

But Diop, who normally plays football here with his friends, also put his hands to work and helped repair the field.

“Nobody thought that one day the children could play here, besides, the schoolchildren do their sports classes here,” he says proudly.

The African Champions will play their second match against Qatar on Friday (25 November 2022) , after losing their opening game to the Netherlands on Monday.

Sourced from Africanews

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