Padel continues to be a really largely unknown sport on the African continent and notably in Senegal the place soccer and wrestling are king. But that would quickly change thanks to the initiatives of the affiliation “Padel tennis without borders“, Which works for the development of sport among young people.
Padel Magazine was able to speak with Philippe Apack, who carries this project with enthusiasm.
“I discovered padel in Senegal”
Padel Magazine: Can you introduce your self and inform us about your historical past with padel?
Philippe Apack : “I am Franco-Senegalese and I have been traveling between the two countries for more than 25 years. I lived there for more than fifteen years and know the local customs and customs perfectly. ”
“Occasional tennis player at the base, I discovered padel in Senegal, more precisely at the Saly club (seaside resort located 70 km south of Dakar), the first in the country to open its doors six years ago. I immediately hooked and I am not the only one, proof of this are the three other clubs which opened in the wake and which meet a great success with the expatriate population. ”
“95% of padel players are expatriates”
Padel Magazine: What prompted you to arrange the affiliation? What are your ambitions ?
Philippe Apack : “This winter, during a stay of several months in Aix en Provence, I enrolled in the municipal padel club of the Aix University Club where I met two tennis teachers, Mathias and Thibault, who are also creators of the association Tennis sans frontières. They notably organized charitable actions in South America and Senegal. We were on the same page and shared a vision of sport that would be accessible to all and for all. ”
“In Senegal for example, 95% of padel players are expatriates, the local population not having the financial means to be able to afford subscriptions and equipment suitable for practice. It seems terribly unfair, and so I matured the project of an adapted structure in which I could invest myself and which would change the situation. From there started the establishment of Tennis Padel sans Frontières. ”
“Our ambition is of course to create an academy that will primarily serve African youth, and if our project appeals to as many people as possible, there is also padel in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, where Tennis Padel sans frontières could intervene. ”
Popularize the apply of Padel in Africa
Padel Magazine: What are your objectives for 2021?
Philippe Apack : “Our aim is to popularize the practice of Padel in Africa and more precisely in Senegal initially, by allowing young aspiring sportsmen but lacking the means to be able to have access to clubs (all private) and to various equipment. ”
“Our program is simple. Find funding and donors who could support us, and allow as many destitute Senegalese children as possible to have access to lessons, training, with adequate equipment: snowshoes, shoes, clothing, etc. ”
“To do this, I approached the N’gaparou club and its owner, Pascal. Delighted with the idea and 100% on our side, he is the first to have allowed two young locals to train for free his home. They are now making sparks at national tournaments and are a success story for young people to follow. ”
“Padel is still a totally anecdotal sport in the Senegalese sporting landscape. The other clubs will follow suit if they want to. ”
“We will not forget the girls, too often confined from an early age to household and family chores. It is a problem cultural and religious and we will try to find solutions to make families understand the usefulness of letting girls play sports. It will take a little while, but we are not lacking in patience and energy. ”
“We are going to have a year 2021 full of projects and great moments of sharing. According to the means that the association will have, we hope that at least thirty young people will be able to start learning about padel. We can always catch ourselves dreaming, right !? ”
With padel we hope to give them hope for the long run
Padel Magazine: At the second, what number of padel golf equipment are there in Senegal? How does this translate in phrases of practitioners?
Philippe Apack : “There are three clubs all private in the Saly area, plus one in Dakar:
- Padel N’gaparou
- Padel Saly
- La Palmeraie sporting club (Editor’s note: Club winner of the first edition of the Intercontinental Padel Cup in 2019)
- The Olympic sport (Dakar) ”
“For the moment the number of practitioners from all clubs must not exceed two hundred members, this number should explode when the Senegalese have access to courses. Their motivation, combined with their astonishing physical capacities, should put on good performances in international competitions in the coming years. ”
“On the other hand, our foals will have an obligation to respect. As long as their agreement with our association lasts, they must remain at school and do everything to have a good average and think about going to higher education. Here, young people drop out of school very early for lack of prospects or means. With padel we hope to give them hope for the future, to make them practice a healthy and playful activity while making them understand the importance of studying. In this regard, here too we will try to support them with the necessary means. ”
“Long reside padel, lengthy reside Senegal, lengthy reside Tennis Padel sans frontières.”
If tennis is a sport that drives you crazy, then multiply that madness by 2 and you will get padel.
An expatriate in Malaga, passionate about sports and photography, Malick immediately fell for padel. If you can’t find him on a court working his “Bandeja”, he’ll probably be hiking, GoPro in hand.