I Did Not Have An Education, I Was Always Hungry, I Survived Hard Times, Played Football Barefooted— Sadio Mane Shared His Story 

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I Did Not Have An Education, I Was Always Hungry, I Survived Hard Times, Played Football Barefooted— Sadio Mane Shared His Story

“I did not have an education, I was always hungry, and I had to work in the farms, I survived hard times, played football barefooted, but today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people.

I left my village to go to the capital, Dakar, with my uncle, and there were trials (football trials) on.
We went to them and there were lots of boys being tested and getting organised into teams. I will never forget this, and it is funny now, but when I went to try out there was an older man that looked at me like I was in the wrong place.

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He asked me ‘are you here for the test?’ I said I was. He asked me, ‘with those boots? Look at them. How can you play in them?’. They were bad, really bad – torn and old. Then he said, ‘and with those shorts? You don’t even have proper football shorts?

I told him what I came with was the best I had, and I only wanted to play – to show myself. When I got on the pitch, you could see the surprise on his face.

He came to me and said ‘I’m picking you straight away. You’ll play in my team.’ After those football trials, I went to the academy.

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Today, i have built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. In addition, 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. What do I need them for? I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me.”

Sadio Mane

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