Lalla and Béatrice share the excitement of children forgetting for a time the stress and worries of their difficult lives
The talibé children wake in the early morning every day to face the difficult conditions of their lives. They do not have time to develop and to live their childhood because they must beg to survive. Soccer tournaments organized by Maison de la Gare are a magic moment for these children, as they allow them to de-stress and forget all the worries of their daily lives. This is the story of one such tournament.
Ten teams were organized in two groups, each team representing a different daara. Maison de la Gare’s sports coordinator, Lalla Sène, organized two simultaneous matches each week. These qualifying matches were all played in the Kartier field in the Ndiolofène neighborhood of Saint Louis.
Lalla ensured that each team has a full complement of eleven players plus their substitutes. This gives each of these children the chance to let off steam on the field and to give themselves up to the joy of it all. Close to 120 talibés participated in the tournament, some as players and others as supporters. The field was crowded with people at each game. This was a great moment for the children, and even Maison de la Gare’s staff because it was an opportunity to help the children feel that they also have the right to enjoy life.
The children were totally motivated by the games and put all their energy into winning. The atmosphere was electric during each match, but this did not prevent Lalla from strictly enforcing the rules of the game. As a former member of Senegal’s national women’s soccer team, she is a skilled referee.
After weeks during which each of the ten teams played a total of four games, the tense moment arrived when the teams qualified for the semi-finals. One team was eliminated, and the prize for third place went to the team from Daara Thierno Alassane Diallo. The two making it to the finals were the teams from Daara Thierno Boiro in blue jerseys and from Daara Thierno Hamidou Bâ in yellow jerseys.
The final match of the tournament was played in the Mame Rawane Ngom stadium. There is a tradition for such events. Each team plans carefully how it will enter the stadium, trying to project their passion and their confidence to both the other team and to the spectators. It is truly an Oscar presentation for them; an event that will be remembered for a long time. The ambiance and the applause drive the players to be the best that they can be.
Lalla had set up a schedule for the match that gave both teams the chance to do their very best. It was closely matched and very hard-fought. In the end, the team in blue from Daara Thierno Boiro won over the yellow team from Daara Thierno Hamidou Bâ. Neither team scored during the regulation 90 minutes of play, and the blue team won on a kick-off giving a final score of 1 to 0.
Both finalist teams, along with the third-place team from Daara Thierno Alassane Diallo, were rewarded with a soccer ball for the daara and a jersey for each player. And, of course, the blue team went home with the cup! Talibé Moussa, who is better know by his nickname “Messi”, was awarded the titles of best player and best scorer. He had scored a total of four goals during the tournament.
Maison de la Gare is grateful to all its partners for their support which makes tournaments like this possible, and so much more.
We invite you to watch this short video of the triumphant entry of the two finalist teams into the stadium, an event that they will never forget.
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