Sinthian’s soccer tournament returns
Sep 21, 2021

Countless events were canceled last year because of Covid restrictions, among them the highly popular Sinthian soccer tournament, which unites thousands of people throughout the region. This year, the government granted special dispensation to hold the tournament. “It is as if people were waiting for it,” said Moussa Sene, Le Korsa’s program director in Tambacounda.

Sixteen teams again came to Sinthian to test their mettle on the soccer field across from Thread over several days of play.

Beyond the physical activity, beyond the power of sport to create community, the tournament is also an occasion to gather people from villages scattered around the rural Tambacounda region and share with them some of the programs Le Korsa offers, from free tree seedlings to helping students obtain birth certificates. In past years, Dr. Magueye Ba has offered malaria prevention and AIDS prevention workshops, and theater troupes have performed their plays for large audiences.

The tournament also helps the school year get underway in an unexpected manner: many of the teams who participate gather in their local schools to have meetings before practice, and so they fix up the buildings in the process. Otherwise, making repairs to schools damaged during the rainy season can delay the start of the academic year. This communal effort, in addition to the thrilling footwork seen day in and day out the field, is what makes the tournament so special.

“The youth is such an asset,” Moussa added. “We are planning to see how, with minimal means, they can contribute in transforming the area economically.”