One popular clichè goes like “behind every successful man, there’s a woman” the woman most times can be the mother or wife. But looking beyond the woman, behind every successful man, there’s always a story of how he became successful.
It’s not everyone that delves into one particular career that becomes successful. Basically, not every individual will be successful. Let’s consider the case of playing football, there are people who once played the game at the highest level but today have become small fishes who live in small ocean.. sorry, stream.
One thing or the other might’ve caused this, it’s either they allowed the success intoxicate them so much that they forget how rocky, treacherous and undulating the way to success is or couldn’t keep up with the advancement and the pace of the beautiful game, soccer.
In this piece, we will take a look at the life of Liverpool and Senegalese ace, Sadio Mane. Going by the story of the current African Footballer Of the Year, Sadio Mane is an epitome of passion, determination, hard work, and personality. The words mentioned are the things that have shaped up the Sadio Mane we all know today.
Let’s critically launch deep into the key factors that birthed Sadio Mane today.
Sadio Mane – His Passion
Sadio Mane is a Muslim born in Banbali, a seven-hour drive away from the capital of Senegal, Dakar. Which requires border crossings through the Gambia. Bambali is the perfect definition of remote.
His family was the religious leaders (Imams) in the village and they hoped that one day, Mane would get a good education and farm the land. But Mane had contrary plans which were his main aim – become a footballer.
At a very tender age, Mane was already using grapefruit to make a ball because his family who never agreed with him delving into soccer couldn’t afford to buy a football, not to talk of boots. He played barefooted in the dusty Banbali village with his friends.
Being the best footballer in his locale, Mane wanted to enlarge his coast. So at 15, he embarked on a secret two-week trip to Dakar for trials with help from his best friend, Luc Djiboune. (When you want to do something you so much desire, you go to any length to achieve it. Even if it means disobeying and offending your parents.)
Since I was two or three years old, I remember always being with the ball. I would see kids playing on the street, and would join them. That is how I started – just on the roads,” Mane told Goal in 2016.
It was the second phase of the trial when his family found him in Dakar and had to use the veto power of being his parents, to force him away from the trail back home.
Sadio Mane – Determination
Ordinarily, other kids would simply give up, having endured criticisms from his family and some other neighbors in the village but the determination of Sadio wasn’t shaking.
It was in 2009 when his story started shaping up at the academy, Generation Foot. The development center that Diafra Sakho and Papiss Cisse also passed through at some point in their careers.
At Generation foot, Mane would turn up for training sessions in old, torn boots and without proper football shorts. Parmalin Diatta who was the recruiter at Generation Foot expressed his skepticism about Mane but the young, vibrant and athletic-looking Sadio watered down every skepticism of his boss with four goals in the first game.
“We went to them and there were lots of boys being tested and getting organized 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,” Mane recalled.
Mane continued: “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 trials, I went to the academy.”
His performance did not only silence the skepticism of his boss but attracted the attention of Oliver Perrin, a talent scout for Metz. Oliver then started to observe regularly at every training.
After six months, Sadio Mane has signed an internship contract with Metz and had his first experience of European winter on January 4, 2011.
Sadio Mane – Hardwork
Sadio Mane earned the nickname Ballonbuwa (The football wizard) from his teammates back in Bambali because of how crazy he can be about football. Oliver Perrin sais “I used to call him ‘crazy boy’ for how much he loved football. He always played like he was having fun, but he was serious.
His work rate was so glaring that despite playing at a “small club”, he was always a fly in the ointment for every bigger club they faced. Even if they happen to be the losing side, Mane would still torment every opponent he faced.
Mane featured at the 2012 Olympics and found his way to meet with Jurgen Klopp who was Borussia Dortmund’s manager at that time. The German manager fluffed the chance to sign him for Borussia Dortmund.
However, his hard work paved a way for him and secure a deal with Red Bull Salzburg before he later joined Southampton. Jurgen Klopp as well had left Dortmund for Liverpool. He began to have an encounter with Mane’s side, Southampton. He’d notice is an exceptional performance every time Southampton face Liverpool.
Fast forward to 2016, Mane had become a Liverpool player and he settled really well into the team.
The Man, Sadio Mane – His Personality
Finally, his personality. Mane today is a Champions League winner and perhaps, would already become a winner of the EPL if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as the personal accolade of the African Footballer of the Year.
As it was stated earlier, some players after reaching stardom will suddenly forget what they passed through to reach the level they found themselves. Mane is not one of the players. He knows what it means to be poor and helpless.
He can be said to be a humble young man with the love of his country and village at heart. The story behind Mane’s construction of a hospital in his village was because his father passed away while he was seven without receiving medical attention after suffering from stomach pains. There was no health center in the village, traditional medicine didn’t work and so his father was rushed to a neighboring settlement, but it was too late.
He was driven to build a hospital by that memory as well as that of his sister having to be born at home. He feels anyone else in his village shouldn’t endure the same medical complications and the hospital today, is around six months from completion.
Moreso, Sadio Mane has helped his village that has become a community with other infrastructures like schools, donation of kits, money and many other things. Recently, he sent £28,000 to the Senegalese government to cater to the Coronavirus victims.
He is so much loved in his community that they hang on his every promise. He is not just their superstar, brought out from the same dusty village that’s a community today. He is their hope.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
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Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.