As basketball gains popularity all over Africa with the implementation of camps and projects aimed at getting the youth excited about the sport, we get to see firsthand the kind of talent that rapidly emerging. One such talent is Fatou Thiam. Originating from Senegal, the young star is rapidly gaining recognition at the tender age of 15. Currently in grade 11, she started playing basketball in 2013 at the age of 13. 5 years into the game, she diligently practices this sport with the dream of one day becoming a professional player, and uses the many programs available in Senegal to help hone her skills.
For the past 10 years, Senegal has been investing more and more into basketball. Just earlier this month a new sports facility the Dakar Arena was inaugurated, a fresh new space for basketball and other sports alike. Along with the presence of popular basketball and education-focused programs like the SEED Project, a lot of young players whom are passionate about the game are starting to emerge. The male and female integration that is also a part of this program which reduce the gap of gender inequality in sport, and produces formidable female talent like Fatou.
Fatou already has quite the profile in her young basketball career. She was called up for Senegal’s Under-16 training camp in 2016, been involved in multiple camps and joined the elite training centre NBA Academy Africa. She also participated at the Basketball Without Borders(BWB) camp in South Africa in 2017 and 2018. At the 2018 BWB in Pretoria, South Africa, she was crowned champion of the 3-point contest at the Sun Arena.
Fatou was also a part of the Giants of Africa 2018. Founded by Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors, he tours in different countries in Africa by bringing the basketball camp experience youth like Fatou in different nations. Fatou was participating in the program in Dakar as part of a group of selected young and promising athletes.
Fatou discusses the growth of basketball in Africa; “I think African basketball can be improved and needs assistance because there are lot of young talented players in Africa”. Concerning the basketball scene in Senegal, she added “Senegalese basketball can develop fast, with a huge amount of talented players and programs already installed. Coaching talented players with the resources needed to be a professional player”.
Fatou’s main goal is to have a successful career playing professionally for the WNBA, and to be involved in basketball development in Senegal where she will be able to share her skills, knowledge, and understanding of the game. With her future looking bright in the realm of basketball, be sure to look for the name Fatou Thiam in the near future.
By : Yussuf Yanni