“Sport can become a great economy in Africa”

French-Senegalese basketball player Aby Gaye

abyss homo is a professional basketball player. She is a double young European champion and vice world champion with the French team. In addition to her sporting activities, she is active on the African continent, especially in Senegal, her country of origin, where she founded a basketball academy for young girls. An enormous contribution to the education and support of young people in this West African country. This is how the 1.95 m basketball player entrusted AFRIK.COM. In this interview, the one many young basketball players consider to be a source of inspiration returned to her career, her dedication to Africa and her perception of basketball on the continent.

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When and how was your interest in basketball confirmed?

I hit my first ball in Créteil at the age of 12. Already after a few days, the city coach noticed that I was quite comfortable and offered to join the Orly club to reach a higher level. It was really confirmed when I entered INSEP and joined the young French team. INSEP brings together great champions from many disciplines, we all meet daily. This is where I started to take things really seriously. I also got to know professional players, players from the French team, so you want to be sure of that. Wanting to move on, do like them, live what they live. We strive to be in their place later.

What does basketball mean to you?

Basketball stands for many things, it is central to my life. More than half of my life has been devoted to basketball so far. Everything was and is organized around that: my family life, my studies and my private life. Today I have the chance to make it my job. A very demanding job. Everywhere I go, people ask me if I’m a basketball player. I’m tall, so I always get that question (laughs).

What achievements are you most proud of?

I would say that I have become a professional basketball player. I am grateful for my entire career in general. It’s built around a lot of things, it’s already an opportunity to be where I am. I was able to carry out my studies parallel to basketball, founding an association in Senegal thanks to basketball, developing myself as an athlete and as a woman. There are, of course, milestones that make the success of this career all the more appreciated. But we can already be proud that we turned pro. Many would like to be in our place.

How do you rate your career as a basketball player?

It’s hard to answer this question because I’m still indoors at the moment. Today I start a new phase in my career, at a new club I am taking a new path. There are many changes in the life of a basketball player, I will be able to take stock at the end. See you in 10 years (laughs).

What are your next goals?

In the short term, it would be to close out Terang’Aby’s year in style with my camp, then take stock of the support we’ve given to the young girls who took part. It will be a sporting preparation for the World Cup with the French team. In the longer term it has continued to develop me as an individual and as a woman. Learn from my experiences, but also from the people around me. I always try to make progress and set myself new goals in life, but also in sports.

You are very involved with the continent, especially in Senegal. What connections do you have there? What actions do you take there?

It is my country of origin, I will go there as soon as possible. I think it is important to maintain strong ties and to invest in them. I founded the Terang’Aby Academy in Senegal, it combines educational and sports workshops, which aim to guide young girls on the path of human development so that they become informed women. We want to bring them something new, take them out of their routine, about topics that they don’t necessarily talk about with their loved ones or with each other. I’ve also recently received videos of them talking about their experiences in Terang’Aby. Whether during the camp or during the monthly days when they meet, they take stock and explain what it will bring them. My sports schedule doesn’t allow me to attend every time, but a team surrounds them all year round and I communicate with them regularly. It touches me greatly to receive their messages and see their evolution.

How do you rate the level of African basketball?

What is happening on the international stage is very positive. I remember the U19 team from Mali, who won the French in the semi-final of the World Cup, and then narrowly lost the final to the United States. In recent years, Nigeria has also shone internationally. The population is very young, there is huge potential. There are more and more investors on the continent, sports could really become a great economy. Like Nigeria and Mali, we see that we can develop if we use the resources. Many young people could claim to have a great career, no matter the sport, as long as we put the resources into it.

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