Yesterday I attended a wrestling match or “lutte senegalaise” at Demba Diop stadium.
The truth is that everyone I spoke to, told me not to go because attendees got really violent and because there were also loads of robberies. Anyway, it was the event of the year here in Senegal so I had to go! We got VIP tickets because we were a bit scared but everything went fine.
It was supposed to start at 3pm but it started at 5pm (typical Senegalese schedule) and it went on until nearly 8pm.
The match consisted of 5 rounds of fights; going from the youngest and less experienced fighters to the most known ones. Each round can last 5 minutes or an hour; the fighter who falls and touches the floor with its two hands, looses.
Arriving at the stadium…
The stadium was divided in two, each side supporting the different teams and fighters. In the pictures below you can see the first team arriving. There were thousands of policemen caring for their security. I say THEIR because there was barely security in the rest of the stadium.
Before starting the rounds, several groups of dancers performed typical senegalese dances. I was amazed to see how they moved to the sound of the drums, all at the same time and feeling the music in their bones. I think that africans are born with the rhythm in their blood!
Getting ready for the first match…
Look at this guy!!! He was pure fiber!! Not a single gram of fat in his body…
The first match!
More dances between each fight…
Next round and next fighter training before his performance.
The “bongo orchestra” came to scene. All the people from this orchestra were sons and grandsons of the guy directing it. He has 54 sons, so I guess he’s muslim and has at least 4 wives!
Every combat had more level, so the last one was supposed to be the best one. They even lighted fireworks which totally made everyone get more and more excited.
This last fight was between Modou Lou and Eumeu Sene. Both are very known fighters here in Senegal and really experienced. What amazed me was that the fights were really slow, it wasn’t like boxing where they start fighting until someone nearly dies.
Anyway, Modou Lou won, and everyone just went crazy. People started jumping into the “ring” where the battle took place and others were rushing to get out of the stadium. I was really scared because I thought there was going to be a human stampede but I managed to get out quickly.
By the way, here’s a TIP: care about your stuff and hold everything in close hand because when it gets so crowded, people steal (and even more if they see a “toubap”).
The thing is that it was a great experience to get to know a little more of the senegalese culture and to enjoy their favorite sport just like we enjoy the final match of the “champions league”.
Hope you enjoyed the post!!