Shooting hoops at Senegal’s Seeds Academy



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Monday 24 December 2012

Last update 24 December 2012 8:21 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

In Senegal, a basketball academy has been fighting for 10 years to provide an education for youngsters passionate about the sport.
Hard work, discipline — and the orange ball — are at the heart of the Seeds Academy, set up by the vice-president of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Amadou Gallo Fall, who is in charge of developing the sport in Africa.
The Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal Academy — to give it its full name — is based at the National Center of Physical and Sporting Education (CNEPS) in Thies, 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of the capital Dakar.
Here, timekeeping is a serious business, said the center’s manager Assane Badji while waiting for the bus that takes the students back to school for lunch.
“When they see me as they get off the bus, they know that they shouldn’t hang about,” he added standing outside the entrance to CNEPS.
“It’s important. They should all know that they don’t have the time to play around and discipline starts by respecting the timetable.”
Respect and discipline are two values advocated by the academy’s founder Amadou Gallo Fall, a 49-year-old Senegalese who himself benefitted from a push in the right direction at the end of the 1980s.
At the time, he was a student basketball player in Tunisia and was noticed by an American, allowing him to go and study to the United States.
His career as a player was cut short at university by a wrist injury but he managed to find a job at the heart of the US basketball league, the NBA.
He worked as a recruiter for the Dallas Mavericks then was put in charge of promoting the game in Africa. Since 2010, he has been the head of development in Africa for the NBA and wanted to give young Senegalese the chance that he had.
In 2002, Amadou Gall Fall threw himself into the creation of the Seeds Academy, aiming to find young Senegalese from across the country to offer them the chance to be part of a structure that would take care of all their school and sports needs.
“In return, they had to be high achievers at school to stand a chance of going to a US college or university. That’s the deal,” said Fall’s brother, Cheikh Fall.
Seeds Academy has about 30 students from aged 14-15 to 18 and its program is tough.
The students get up at 5:00 a.m. and train until 7:00 am. Breakfast and lessons follow at the Saint Gabriel Roman Catholic center — one of the most academic in Thies — with lights out late after more training and homework.
“We don’t have a minute’s respite,” confirmed Youssoupha Birama Fall, a 2.21 meters (7ft 2.5in) 17-year-old who is a recent African under-18 champion with Senegal.
“We have lessons and training until 11:00 pm. We don’t have time to play or think about anything other than studying and basketball.”
The academy does not receive local or national funding but is instead financed by Amadou Gallo Fall through US donations.
“We need $ 170,000 (nearly 135,000 euros) for a full year,” added Chiekh Fall. “We have five full-time staff, including coaches, and we pay for everything: private education, meals, accommodation, everything.”
In 10 years, the Seeds Academy has sent about 40 young basketball players to study in the United States.
Even though only one has managed to make the NBA — former New York Knicks center Mouhamed Saer Sene — the others are currently students or graduates.
That is a payback for Assane Badji, the academy’s manager.
“It’s a great source of pride for me,” he beams. “We make them work hard here. They often come from very poor backgrounds and when we see what they become, we’re very happy.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Two members of a Ministry of Health ambulance crew, including a doctor, were killed when their vehicle overturned along a highway in Madinah region on Tuesday, an online site reported.The driver also died and a nurse suffered injuries, 3alyou...
RIYADH: Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh has exhorted the youth to seek peaceful solutions to their problems and avoid radical tendencies. “The youth have serious problems which we have to address properly so that we can come up with lasting solutio...
RIYADH: The ministers at Monday’s Cabinet meeting lauded Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s stern message to other countries to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.During his address to key delegates to the Jan...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman briefed the Cabinet, on Monday, about the message he sent to the Kuwaiti emir and the messages he received from the Moroccan king and the Qatari emir.The king also spoke about the outcome of his m...
RIYADH: The Eastern Mediterranean Office (EMRO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday announced that the region is considered a Zika virus-free zone.Dr. Alaa Alwan, the regional director of EMRO, said that it does not mean that Middle East...
JEDDAH: The Saudi Health Council is working to establish an electronic system to prevent manipulation of sick leave holidays.Dr. Yaqoob Al-Mazrouh, secretary-general of the council, disclosed this during a seminar on Sunday. He did not elaborate on h...
RIYADH: Specialized Clinics Arabia (SCA) treated a total of 9,220 Syrians at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan during the month of January 2016, according to Dr. Hamid Mufalana, SCA medical director.“Many of the patients were children who were given...
JEDDAH: The Jeddah police have solved the mystery surrounding the thrashing of a man by another, the video clip of which had gone viral.It was a Herculean task for the police to search for the victim, who had not bothered to lodge any complaint. The...
JEDDAH: The Cutoms Department at Yanbu’s Prince Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz Airport recently foiled an attempt to smuggle 64,165 Captagon pills found hidden in four boxes.Saad Al-Buqami, director-general of Customs at the Airport, said: “During our c...
AL-AHSA: Plans are afoot to turn the Al-Ahsa dates festival into an international event by adopting top standards in the manufacture, packaging and marketing of the product, Adel Al-Mulhim, the general supervisor of the festival, has said.Speaking du...
RIYADH: A gang comprising two women and youth has been arrested for allegedly looting cash from pharmacies and snatching women’s handbags in malls.Col. Fawaz bin Jameel Al-Maiman, police media spokesman of the Riyadh region, said the arrests were mad...
RIYADH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar on Sunday called for conservation of water and electricity, even as the Water and Electricity minister said Saudi Arabia will need an investment of SR500 billion for power projects over the next 10 years t...
RIYADH: More than 200,000 people accused of various crimes were investigated by the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) in the financial year of 1435-1436 A.H.Among the 218,000 who were investigated, around 30 percent or 65,000 were...
RIYADH: Thousands of Saudis have visited the German pavilion at the Janadriyah festival since it was opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman last week, in the presence of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German Amba...
DAMMAM: The cold wave in many parts of the Kingdom over the last week caused a decline of between 30 percent and 50 percent in farm production. This decline in turn drove prices of agricultural products at wholesale markets up by 30 percent.Farmers s...

Stay Connected

Facebook