Street Dreaming in Senegal

Whether it’s a city park, a dirt lot or a fenced-in turf field, children across the world spend day after day chasing the same dream to be the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But while the quality of the pitch might change from region to region, and while some footballs might be more tattered than others, the same expression of joy is always apparent as kids momentarily transform into their idols once they step onto their local pitch.

Filmmakers Lea Amiel and Nicolas Libersalle recently visited Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to capture an artistic look at a few moments in the lives of the next Iniesta and Didier Drogba. Fair to say they found what they were looking for.

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A forgotten past, and the rise of Chelsea’s new signing Demba Ba

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It didn’t take long for Premier League fans to embrace Newcastle’s Senegalese striker. After all, it’s hard to resist a player that admits“I love syrup … It’s something I can’t live without, like an addiction.”

But before this interview with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves in 2012, Demba Ba was still relatively new to the British game, having only swapped the Bundesliga for the Premier League a year previously. The contrast between Ba’s reputation in England and Germany is interesting, to say the least.

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Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos spend their vacations working with UNICEF

While Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas are in Ibiza partying on yachts, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos decided to spend their post-World Cup vacation time a different way. The Argentine and Spaniard are both official UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, and they travelled to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and Dakar, Senegal, respectively. Humility is certainly something that is often lacking in world class players, but the actions of these men, especially when they could so easily just spend their time and vast amounts of money at exotic resorts, are truly inspirational.

Messi visited Carrefour Aviation, a camp where 50,000 Haitians who lost their homes during the earthquake are living. He met with children who are participating in a Sports for Development program. Ramos, on the other hand, had the opportunity to see how the community’s approach helps workers to reach children. He also played a game of football with school children. During his press conference, Sergio said he has fulfilled two dreams in one week: winning the World Cup and working with children. These, my friends, are proper role models. (video of Ramos’ trip is below) 

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