With our festival in late November-early December 2016, we celebrated a lot of angles of women’s soccer. First and foremost, we played! 8 teams from throughout Senegal participated in a one-day non-stop tournament. Then we took an in depth look at the current state of women’s leadership in sports in Senegal. Finally, we all watched the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Final in Yaoundé live on a big screen from Demba Diop Stadium in Dakar.
During the group phase of the non-stop tournament on December 2, 2016, Casa Sport looked like they would win the whole tournament. They had traveled the farthest of any of the teams- all the way from Casamance, the southern region of Senegal which lies south of The Gambia. Casa Sport dominated the group phase, emerging as the only undefeated team. However, in the semi-final, they lost in penalty kicks to the Dorades from Mbour, a city 45 miles south along the coast from Dakar. The Dorades however couldn’t keep up the momentum and lost to the Dakar powerhouse, the Médiours from the suburb area of Rufisque - again in penalty kicks!
“This festival helps us stay motivated and love soccer because it’s not easy to be a girl and play soccer and love soccer,” shared Awa, captain of a women's team in Dakar.
Our Leadership Panel the following day (December 3) provided needed space for reflection after the excitement of the tournament. A leading Senegalese sociologist was joined by a former Minister of Insitutional Relations, the Canadian Ambassador, and our President Seyni in discussing the progress and challenges surrounding women’s leadership in sports in Senegal. We hope to have a video of it so any francophiles can practice their feminist French!
Finally, everyone gathered to cheer on the Cameroonian and Nigerian Women’s Teams as they played the Final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Yaoundé. Nigeria once again proved they are the African team to beat- winning 1-0. Gaelle, our Communications Director, was in attendance live in in Yaoundé for it all. Check out her video of the electric atmosphere in the packed stadium. For Ladies’ Turn, watching the final together was an important moment of solidarity with other women’s teams in Africa. Senegal would love to make the finals one day, but women’s soccer finals are victories for us all.
A huge thank you for all your support that makes this possible! Also a thank you to our partners at the Embassy of Canada in Dakar for their grant and their Ambassador’s dedication!
Nio Far, In Solidarity,
Jennifer and the Ladies' Turn Team
Panel on Women's Leadership in Sports
Player asks a question at the panel on leadership
Gaelle live at the Africa Cup of Nations Final
Crowd cheers women players at Africa Cup Final