At the heart of the launch of the National Neighborhood Cup, a new version of the neighborhood CAN

At the heart of the launch of the National Neighborhood Cup, a new version of the neighborhood CAN

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The rise was meteoric. Three years ago, in 2019, the summer was marked by the launch of the CAN neighborhood in France. While the real African Cup of Nations was taking place in Egypt, dozens of similar tournaments, featuring teams from every community, had taken place across France. The success had been immediate, helped also by certain professional players who had not hesitated to take part in the matches, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the Le Mans side. Since then, this event has caught the attention of several sponsors and is therefore a new version that started this Sunday near Créteil. The neighborhood CAN now becomes the National Neighborhood Cup (CNDQ). Consequences: there are now twice as many teams registered, more resources, since the competition is sponsored by Nike or Heetch, but also and above all a final broadcast live on television in first video.

What’s next after this announcement?

This development necessarily implies more responsibilities. “It’s a lot of pressure, but a lot of pride first. It is a highly anticipated event. Managing people is difficult. And in an event like this with thousands of people on the edge of the field, controlling everything is not easy.trusts for the first time Moussa Sow, perfect namesake of the former LOSC Senegalese international, in the origin of the CAN of the districts and president of collective assault.“This success on the one hand, I could even say that it is unfortunate in the sense that this request was made some time ago at the council level. But nobody believed in our project. We showed that we could bring people together and that we were organized. With sponsors, we are even more vigilant. For people to open their doors to us was unimaginable before. Can you imagine that Nike sponsors the competition, they give away shirts, shorts that we have imagined. It’s huge.”

An always active audience

It was also necessary to see the atmosphere when launching the first matches of the tournament to realize the magnitude of the event. At the Dominique-Duvauchelle stadium, located just outside the subway, were the supporters. The atmosphere too. A DJ was even present precisely for the occasion in order to animate the matches that were played in a stadium framed by certain well-founded slogans of the Heetch brand such as “Here we go around the world without leaving the neighborhood” either “Let’s stick together like the crusaders”. This festival involved the big ones, but especially the little ones. The boys also took advantage of the minimal free space on the pitch at the final whistle to move in to kick the ball before quickly leaving the green rectangle as matches resumed. “Not everything is perfectly structured either. I don’t want to distort the competition. We do not put many prohibitions on people, because they are also there to take advantage. The little ones play with their balls and sometimes it gets in the way of the games, but that’s okay. They come to have fun making it a hit. For them it is like coming to see professional players. They have stars in their eyes. And it shows that we made it“, admits Moussa Sow.

But then, on the ground, what does it matter? For the official launch of the competition, four matches were held. The first referred to Morocco, current champion and always present in terms of atmosphere, and Italy, a new team in this tournament. Under the watchful eye of former PSG player Sammy Traoré, a native of the city and present at the event, the Moroccans did their job in the first match of the group stage with a victory (5-2). But it is for another reason that it was necessary to take a look. Because the public seemed to light up in each of the actions. And not in vain, Guinea and the Antilles offered a quite spectacular and entertaining match, at least as much as in the stands where the traditional “Kill it”, “Smoke it”, “Work it” flourished in each of the two teams. ‘offensives. . What gives wings to the players, who have been thinking of going out in tables of three everywhere for some time. But the Antilles finished, in a very good way, flying in the second half to finally win (7-3). “Physically, they give it their all. There is a level this year frankly. Guinea was gobbled up late in the game, but she held up well. The West Indies, they’re hot.” Mehdi explains that he follows the matches with great interest.

One last broadcast on television and before 12,000 spectators

And to answer the question that everyone asks: are the teams made up only of players from the same community? The answer is no. At least not always. “Italy’s number 10 there, he’s a Moroccan, I swear to you”, ironically a fan present on the pitch. Moussa Sow, organizer, gives further explanation.“In some countries, you can’t have that many players in Créteil. Portugal is possible, but Italy, for example, is impossible. But in various countries, we had a lot of requests, especially in the West Indies. Unfortunately, we cannot satisfy everyone. We have established a rule, which is to have at least eight Créteil players on each team. We want to have control over the teams. If there are problems, I won’t be able to talk to someone from another city like I would a friend to solve the problem.”

Now that the CNDQ has officially launched, and while a women’s tournament will also take place, the goal remains to make it to the final and have a chance to broadcast live on TV. first video, but also before the expected 12,000 spectators. A great development and a great reward for a project that also intended to unite the city and neighbourhoods. “When I created this tournament, I had imposed that each team be made up of one player from each district of the city. Because we know very well how it is. Sometimes there are wars between certain neighborhoods. People are at war simply because they don’t live in the same neighborhood. We had to find this common denominator. You are at war when you are from the same origin, because you are going to defend the same shirt. And it will force you to know yourself”Moussa Sow concluded. The bet is successful.

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