Sports, especially football is a game enjoyed all over Africa. The love for the game is not just with the play for the African but also the support and even the business that comes with it. Today, from the horse’s own mouth, an African sporting entrepreneur, Senghane Dominique Dieng shares with TheAfricanDream.net the inside story behind his Afriscarves LLC initiative.
My Happy, Proud & Nostalgic Roots
Mr. Dieng began by affirming his African identity as a man born in Senegal and jumps to ask: “have you heard the line, football is life?“
He goes on to explain that “where I come from it is more than life. It is a religion, maybe even a god, and that is unchangeable. Our daily life is so affected by this simple yet beautiful game in a way that it shapes the fabric of the country and this is true anywhere else on our continent of Africa.“
Born and raised in Senegal, a small country with about 16 million people where the weather is summer-like all year round and perfect for the game of football, Mr. Dieng. tells TheAfricanDream.net reporter Christopher Sam that you cannot miss people and children outside running after a ball either on the street or all over the beach shores. “Almost every child has pictured themselves as the game-winner on a big stage,” he adds.
“Growing up, like most of my friends, I took every chance I got to play on the sandy beaches. Like most of my countrymen, we get into a lot of trouble with our parents missing lunchtime or dinner time due to playing soccer. But that is part of the reason why in my opinion most players from Senegal are very fast players,” reminisces the AfriScarves Founder.
The Dream and The Call
Mr. Dieng. told Christopher Sam of TheAfricanDream.net that he considers himself an ambassador of the Senegalese people and culture, and that of African. When Senegal qualified for the World Cup (WC) in 2002 Dieng felt proudly ecstatic for the opportunity it gave his nation to finally get to be part of world football history.
After this great news of Senegal’s, the AfriScarves Founder was presented with one struggle — finding football scarves to show pride for Senegal and the other African teams representing the continent of Africa. “Yes, for me when an African country plays, the whole continent supports it, irrespective of national affiliation, because a win for one, it a win for all,” retorted Dieng.
“I believe, very shortly, that an African country will reach the final world cup stages. When I compare with many friends from Europe or even America and how easy it is for them to find jerseys or scarves for their respective countries, it made me feel I could do same for we Africans and supporters of Africa“
“My motto, ‘#AfricaBelieves’ is a reflection of my belief that we should all help the African teams get there by building anticipation and creating excitement, while showing support just like all the other teams from Europe, America and other places,” and with that, an idea was born.
How It began
Fast forward to the World Cup, Senegal now qualifies for the second time. Dieng thinks customized scarves with a specific African country’s flag colors would be a great way to support that country’s national football team. So, he then decides to make scarves for the African countries and open a niche online company, which he named Afriscarves LLC out of his base in the United States (US).
“I was aiming to provide scarves with a specific country’s colors that every fan can proudly carry on them to show support for their respective countries. In the world of football, you know the one you play with your foot [not American football in of the US], scarves are a tradition and help the fans to stand in solidarity with their teams.”
The US-based entrepreneur said to TheAfricanDream.net he was looking for a design that would work for the world competition for African countries. His main objective is to appeal to as many people as possible that have an interest in his product. For him it was important his project and design worked for all countries that are representing Africa on the national, continental, and world stages.
It is rather unfortunate that not many experts of the game a few decades ago expected impressive accomplishments from African teams. Alas, it took Cameroon and the accomplishment of its star player Roger Milla during the WC in 1990 for FIFA to show Africa increased respect and add two more slots for African teams to the championship.
Today TheAfricanDream.net feels 5 is the magic number of teams that could lead Africa to rewrite World Cup history, just consider how close Ghana came [closest ever by an African team] in the WC quarter-finals of 2010 after it first appeared at the 18th WC of Germany 2006.
As COVID-19 Hits Football…
On Covid-19 and how it has unfortunately stopped competitions worldwide, AfriScarves say they are using it as an opportunity to re-center their messages. For Dieng this pandemic puts him “back to the drawing board, as I try to figure out how to tell my story. Ultimately, I believe the energy of football is unique and is the only sport that will bring together people like no other.”
“This is obvious to FIFA, the world soccer governing body — that’s why they are making available relief funds to aid footballing nations globally hit my the pandemic.“
Football will one day show our new generation how we are all united and connected more than we ever know. Africans will find it pleasant to see that any African team that will be in the finals, will have the support of a United People of Africa.
“And when we’ve beaten covid-19, AfriScarves will be there for Africans and the world when Africa lifts the World Cup,” Dieng promised as he urged all to visit www.afriscarves.com for more info about his business.
Written by Oral Ofori