Your roots are what got you here, it is where you came from, and it is where your story begins. It defines you when you are a child; your roots shape you when you grow up. For some people, their roots are the place they were born, for some, it is their family and for some, it is a personality trait. Whatever you consider your roots to be, always remember that your roots are where it all begins, and always remember that the tree is only as strong as its roots. For one footballer, his roots meant the world to him. Born in Sénégal, Mané started his career at the Académie Génération Foot, Senegalese football academy. In a recent interview, Sadio Mane described his early career and his Journey to becoming a Professional Football player.
Once a boy who played without proper football kits Mane is now one of the best footballers to play in the Premier League. Despite his fame and wealth though, Mane hasn’t forgotten his roots. Sadio Mane has done a lot to help out his village and the Country of Senegal.
The 27-year-old is well aware of the poverty-stricken conditions in his home village of Bambaly and paid for a hospital to be built there. Mane then donated £250,000 to fund a new secondary school and was spotted visiting the construction site to check on its progress. He also gifted 300 Liverpool shirts to locals in his hometown so they could wear them during the 2018 Champions League final. And amid the outbreak of coronavirus, Mane donated £41,000 to health authorities in Senegal. Back home in Senegal, Mané has funded the construction of a school in Bambaly, work on the new school began before the summer.
“Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or two planes? What will these objects do for me and the world? I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things, but today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people,” Mané explained. “I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. Also, I give 70 euros per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal which contributes to their family economy. I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips, and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me”. Mane said in an Interview.
On being asked about the construction of a Hospital mane commented:
“I remember my sister was also born at home because there is no hospital in our village. It was a really, really sad situation for everyone. I wanted to build one to give people hope.”
Apart from being a generally good human being and having a very humble personality Mane is also a very focused Individual. Throughout his footballing journey, he has stayed focused on his ambitions. Mané began his professional career at age 19 in the second division of France Football, but after one season he moved to Austria to play for RB Salzburg in 2012 for a fee of €4 million, where he won the League and Domestic cup with his team in the 2013/14 season. Mané transferred to Southampton Football Club in England. There, he set a new record for scoring the fastest hattrick in the league. Scored in 176 seconds in a 6–1 win over Aston Villa. Mane moved clubs in 2016 again however he stayed in England and moved to Liverpool. This is where he gained his reputation and helped Liverpool win the Champions League and most recently the Premier League title 30 years since they had last won this title.
When asked a question about his early days and how his journey as a footballer began, Mane talks about a very insightful story:
Sadio Mane: “I remember the first day I arrived in France to take tests and sign with FC Metz. I was supposed to train from the day I arrived but the coach told me to stay at home.
“I had no credit on my phone card to call my mother and tell her that I had gone to France. The next day, I went with some of my friends who were already in Metz and I called her and told her I was in France.
“She said to me: “What, which France?”. She couldn’t believe it. I said: “France in Europe”. She replied: “What do you mean by Europe? You live in Senegal, you are supposed to be with your uncle”. I then said, “yes but now I am in Europe”.
She was amazed, it was crazy! She was so surprised that she called me every day to ask me if it was true. She didn’t believe me until one day I told her to go watch TV to see me play. She finally understood that my dream had come true.”
Staying true to his roots Mane still helps with a lot of projects in his home country and the development of schools, hospitals, and the development of sports. Mane has ensured many young children in his home country get the privilege of education and healthcare. Pursuing dreams can be hard, and takes a lot of determination and grit for those dreams to come true. But then again, if you don’t live for your dreams have you really lived at all.