In the farming village of Batabut Kantora in Foni Brefet, Alieu Sanyang is a farmer by morning and a footballer by afternoon. His family depends on farming for survival and every morning, he joins his father and siblings at the groundnut farm where they spend about eight hours daily.
“It’s incumbent upon me to go to the farm every morning to help out my father,” Alieu says.
But while Alieu, 22, goes to the groundnut field to help his family put food on the table, his passion lies in the football field. From the farm, he rests at home for about an hour and then heads to the village’s main football field to play football. That is his daily routine.
“During the football league, I do get exhausted. I get tired easily because of the work at the farm. But I have to keep playing football because of my passion for the game. I set a target for myself.”
For Alieu, contributing to his family’s economic activities and pursuing his footballing dreams are inseparable. On the pitch, he’s hoping the village league will one day propel him to national stardom. On the groundnut field, he sees every minute he spends as a blessing, especially his father’s blessing which he believes will help him achieve his footballing dreams. In his tradition, it’s a common belief that making a father happy is the best reward any child can get.
“I get great enjoyment doing farming. There are times when it gets tough, just like in football. Getting up at 6am is always difficult for me, but I’m happy to do it, for my father and the family.”
A centre-back, Alieu dreams of playing in the national squad. “My dream is to now see myself in one of the junior categories of the national team. I’m quite aware that it’s not going to be easy. However, it’s possible. I can do it,” he tells The Chronicle.