August 3, 2021

“If you sleep with me, I select you”

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She was 18 and dreams of games were in her head. In 2000, Roseline Dakouo, engaged for several years in the regional basketball team of Sikasso, a town in southern Mali, was spotted by Kati’s powerful team. The young sportswoman then thinks that her professional career is about to take off. Kati will undoubtedly be the gateway that will allow him to don, one day, the red jersey of the national team.

But Roseline Dakouo had no idea that the price to pay to make basketball her profession would be so great. At the end of 2000, the young player went on a trip to Kati to meet her future teammates. At the end of the training, the coach would have offered to bring her home. Kind attention, she thinks.

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“He wanted us to go through his home, to drop off equipment. When we arrived, he asked me to sleep with him, telling me that if I did, he would make it easy for me to join the team ”, she slips. The basketball player in the making, “Disillusioned and shocked”, would have tried to run away before being caught by the coach: ” He was angry. He insisted so much… No matter what, he wanted me to sleep with him. ”

Faced with the persistent refusal of the young woman, the coach ends up letting her go, she explains. Roseline Dakouo, she had to say goodbye to red balloons and baskets, preferring to give up a career that she had certainly always dreamed of, but for which she was not ready to give everything. Starting with his body.

“Pressure from coaches”

For more than twenty years, she kept this trauma buried. On June 14, the case “Goes back to the throat”. That day, the American daily The New York Times and the international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) are breaking the omerta around sexual violence in the Malian basketball scene. Their investigations reveal that dozens of basketball players, mostly teenagers, have been abused by a dozen coaches. And this, since the beginning of the 2000s, with complete impunity.

On June 28, the prosecutor at the tribunal de grande instance of commune 4 of Bamako opened an investigation. It is currently targeting two coaches and Harouna Maïga, the president of the Malian Basketball Federation (FMBB). ” It’s only a beginning “, specifies a judicial source.

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