By Chris Kidd • 03 October 2020 • 18:42
Mane documentary displays his philanthropy and generous spirit as he builds a school and a hospital for his home village.
A brand-new documentary about the life of Sadio Mane tells many tales of the Liverpool strikers’ life. However, one particular story stands out among all the rest.
The documentary covers Mane’s life and includes a variety of interviews with colleagues and friends. However, the standout moment of the programme is his own recollection of his father’s passing.
“I was seven years old,” states Mane. “We were about to play on the field when a cousin approached me and said: ‘Sadio, your father passed away.’ I replied: ‘Oh really? He’s joking …’ I couldn’t really understand it.”
“Before he passed away, he had this kind of sickness for weeks. We brought him some traditional medicine and it kept him calm for three or four months. The sickness came back but this time the medicine didn’t work and because there was no hospital in Bambali they had to take him to the next village to see if they could save his life. But it was not the case.”
He continues, “When I was young my dad was always saying how proud he was of me. He was a man with a big heart. When he died, it had a big impact on me and the rest of my family. I said to myself: ‘Now I have to do my best to help my mother.’ That’s a hard thing to deal with when you are so young.”
Now more than 20 year later Mane is poised to open a hospital in his home village which will accompany the school he built last year. Both project have been fully self-funded by Mane and his charity is a direct result of his reaction to his fathers death.
Mane said of the poverty in his village, “I remember my sister was also born at home because there is no hospital in our village. It was a really, really sad situation for everyone. I wanted to build one to give people hope.”
Mane ran away from home at the age of 15 when his father wouldn’t allow him to leave education to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
“It was tough because I didn’t have anyone behind me to push me to achieve my dream,” he said. “But I never stopped dreaming. It was really brave to leave my family in the village and go to Dakar but I knew that I could be successful. After that, my family started to take it more seriously and knew that I didn’t want to do anything else. They knew they had no choice so they helped me.”
Upon leaving the small village he grew up in he travelled to Senegal where he enrolled in the Generation Foot Academy and started his path to his footballing dreams.
Throughout the documentary his infectious personality shines and he demonstrates that he has remained humble despite his success. At one point he even addressing a crowd of young people outside his new school telling them “education is the key”. “School comes first,” he said. “You should be in good health before you go to work, so let’s finish the hospital.
“Maybe if there had been a better school when I was younger maybe I could have studied more. But it was not the case – I was in the village. So all the boys there want to play football and no one wants to go to school any more. They just want to be a footballer like me … But I always tell them to make sure they have to be well educated and go to school. Of course they can keep playing football but it will help you more to be successful in what you are doing if you do both. It’s not like when I was young any more because it was very difficult back then.”
Mane has also generously gifted £40,000 to the Senegal government to help fight coronavirus.
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Chris has spent a colourful and varied international career in the Arts followed by a substantial career in Education.
Having moved to Spain in 2019 for a different pace and quality of life with his fiancé, he has now taken up a new and exciting role working with the online department of Euro Weekly News.
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