Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

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The crowd chants “Guinea” over and over with jubilance adding a continuous heavy boom with their feet in the stands as the game comes to a close.

The championship game on Saturday, May 17, at Macomb Dam Park for this year’s 5th AAC Soccer Tournament was filled with excitement and pride as two underdogs of the tournament, Burkina Faso and Guinea, faced each other for bragging rights.

“Both teams were the underdogs, nobody expected them to be where they are,” said Ambroise Ngande, director of the AAC soccer tournament and chairman of social community for AAC. “Fortunately they got where they are and knocked all the big guys out.”

This was very clear as the two teams faced head-to-head for the title and the crowd along the field and in the stands watched the ball go back and forth in suspense as close plays were made.

Looking back throughout the season its evident what got the perceived underdogs to this moment by the soccer tournament organizers and even their rivals.

“I like the discipline of Burkina Faso, that’s why they’re here now in the finals,” Mory Kouyate, community liaison for AAC.

“Guinea will win,” said Baffour Acheampong Ghana coach confidently after last week’s loss. “They have the defense.”

Before the game the AAC, soccer teams, and other supporters walked around the soccer field in protest for Bring Back Our Girls.

Ramatu Ahmed an advocate from Ghana and member of the AAC felt it was important to use this time to bring attention to the kidnapped girls in Nigeria and helped to mobilize people to come out along with Council Woman Vanessa Gibson in a possible and practical way for the AAC.

“It is every child’s right to enjoy their childhood and I don’t see why someone would steal that right from them,” said Ahmed.

“We need this to be stopped because it’s not right and we’re really concerned about this problem.  It’s not about the religion because the religion doesn’t say that you’re supposed to treat girls bad,” said Tene Sawadogo, a supporter from Burkina Faso.

Ahmed believes it’s important to also to think about what happens after the girls are released, “we need to ensure that no girl will go through such a thing again.”

After the protest the game began and ended with a close score of 2-1. The AAC President Charles Cooper Jr. announced congratulations loudly from the bullhorn to present the large, gold trophy to the captain, Pierre “Papy” Degay, of the winning team, Guinea, and celebration erupted on the field.

“It feels so great to win,” said Alpha Jollah, Guinea’s coach. He attributes their win to playing good defense and working together.

“We play defense and together as a team, everybody goes forward and comes back like one person,“ said Jollah.

The following day the team continued to celebrate in the Bronx Day Parade along with the African Advisory Council.

As for Burkina Faso, fans can plan to see them again soon in the NY Cosmo COPA soccer competition this summer.

“It was a great game, but we will be competing in the NY COPA this summer,” said their coach Mahamoudou N. Micke.

Guinea will be back next year to reclaim their title “Inshallah,” said Jollah as the young coach was bursting with pride on the field.




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