The traditional struggle, which was very popular in the country, was stalled for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the Petit-Mbao beach in the suburbs of Dakar, in the evening, a rectangular arena surrounded by obstacles formed a crowd. Inside, eight wrestlers dance to the rhythm of percussion: saba, African tunes and dumb dance. They are preparing for the opening ceremony of the next war. The iconic date for Senegal’s independence is set for Sunday, April 4, and it will bring the famous wrestler Lac 2 to battle with another star Tayshinger team leader Eumeu Sène.
The young people and children exclaimed that the latter was a giant with a weight of 120 kilograms, with a bracelet hanging from his ankle and reaching the training area. The wrestler was naked and dressed in a simple loincloth. The wrestler wrestled with bare hands and tried to fall. Sweat ran down from the protruding muscles covered with sand.
Here, it is not recommended that you take or take photos. Wrestling is a mysterious sport, and preparation is not only physical. The wrestler must, for example, wear gris-gris or avoid meeting women, it all depends on what his Margaret tells him., Explained Latif Gomis, general manager of the team. Therefore, it was impossible to approach Eumeu Sene before the war: any risk of letting him see himself casting bad spells must be avoided.
His house is only a few meters away from the beach where he trained, surrounded by obstacles and equipped with bodyguards. There is no one outside the horse, and its personnel are not allowed to enter the stable. Equipment as stringent as the stakes for the next big battle is important. If he wins, Eumeu Sene will have a chance to regain his title of “King of the Arena”, which was conquered in 2018 and lost the following year.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this fight will be the first large-scale organization since the end of the competition in March 2020. After the health emergency was lifted on March 19, the arena was able to reopen. The 8,000 wrestlers affiliated to the National Wrestling Association received a reduction. They were deprived of the opportunity to participate in competitions and group training, and therefore had no income for a year.
Ngarafe Ndiaye, nicknamed “Son of Sadio”, with a blue loincloth wrapped around his waist, said that he must rely on telephone sales to get through the trouble. “Fortunately, I can still rely on the unity of the outstanding wrestlers in the team”, He added. On the weekend of March 27, Young Hope won the opening match at the Pikine National Stadium on the outskirts of Dakar.
In these duels, wrestlers of the same level can earn 400,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (600 to 760 euros). However, the expenses of the greatest athletes sometimes reached 50 million CFA francs (76,200 euros) in one night.
Potential future cash flow reassures Khalifa Niang, President of Tayshinger. “The team will get about 5% of the fee for the wrestlers and the manager will get 10% of the fee. It can be expanded according to the number.”, He explained. Without fighting, 2020 will become very complicated. “The country has forgotten us. He should not help individual wrestlers, but go through horses and schools because we are well organized”He emphasized that this struggle is extremely popular in Senegal, which itself is an economic sector.
The country’s most important wrestling promoter, Gaston Mbengue, organized a battle on April 4. “Challenges in the pandemic. We must ensure compliance with barrier measures. Therefore, we will increase the booth capacity to 50% and reduce the audience from 20,000 to 10,000”, Indicating that the merchant, claiming “Health is more important than financial aspects.”
He counts on sponsors to bear most of the cost of this battle, which he estimates is 200 million CFA francs (about 305,000 euros).usually “They rushed to us” car “Wrestling is the country’s first sport”, Emphasized Mr. Benberg. Moreover, the enthusiasm is already there, and the Sunday event announced a lot of billboards in the main artery of Dakar.Another source of income comes from Live broadcast on two Senegalese national channels. “Outside Senegal, you have to pay per use [télévision à la carte], Because we can’t provide everything for free”, Explain to the businessman.
Since bleach accounts for only half, profitability does not necessarily exist. “But it’s better than nothing… Two months ago, we were ready to open it with the camera!”Ibrahima Sène, chairman of the National Wrestling Management Council (CNG), yelled at this, the agency’s responsibility is to monitor and develop the Senegalese struggle.
He made sure that the level of wrestlers did not drop during the pandemic. “Athletes continue to train because they hope to recover soon. Like warriors, they must be ready at all times.”, The manager who continues to engage in the professionalization of this sport. I hope he can participate in the Olympics one day.