It is well accepted that we should leave the place a better place than when we arrived. Sadio Mane is one such player who has left his mark beyond the football pitch. As good a player as he is, there is no doubt that he is an even better human being. To put things in perspective, he is one of the most important players in the line-up of one of the biggest clubs in Europe – Liverpool FC. What he does off the pitch alone makes him an absolute legend – a role model- someone to look up to.
Sadio Mane transferred from Southampton to Liverpool in the summer of 2016. And since then, he has been an integral cog in the Liverpool wheel helping them drive to the success they have had in recent times. The Senegalese Captain has tasted decent success at Liverpool – individually and collectively. But the recent AFCON glory sits atop his list for many reasons as he quoted himself, “It’s the best day of my life and the best trophy of my life. I won the Champions League and some [other] trophies (Premier League and UEFA Super Cup, to name a few others) but this is the special one for me. This is more important for me. I am happy for myself, my people, and all of my family.”
Mane is very competitive even within the group. So, one can imagine how he is against the opponents. But on the other side of the pitch, he is a dear. It’s like the white line fever – even the calmest can turn to tempest and he is one such guy. The game has hardened him, but his roots have kept him softest at the very core. He plays the game with his heart on his sleeve and beyond the rectangle, he offers his heart to those who need it. The Senegalese international is one of the most benevolent figures going around in football today. He is grateful for all that he has achieved and believes in giving back to society however he can.
Once while Sadio Mane was being treated for concussion in a Cameroon hospital, he paid the CFA 400,000 bill for the family of a child with life-threatening injuries who couldn’t afford the hospital bill. This is just one example of his generosity. “Why would I want 10 Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or 2 planes? I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me.”, said Mane. And it’s not just the words – he lives and breathes it.
From playing football barefooted to lifting the AFCON trophy as their captain and talisman, Mane has come a very long way. From growing up in scarcity to providing whatever he can to his people, Mane has come a long way still. Chadwick Boseman once said, “An offering from a sage and a king is more than silver and gold. It is a seed of hope, a bud of faith.” And Mane has given people in more ways than one, but more importantly, he has given them hope that things can get better, that they do get better, and that they can achieve things that they dream. And this is his biggest legacy. More power to the purest Mane!