A lateral plane and another direct to a tablet. Keita Baldé (8-3-1995, Arbùcies, Catalonia), in a dimly lit room, looks closely at this device where they appear the actor Paco León and Serigne Mamadou, spokesman for the African temps, in a conversation that happened months ago. The worker told his harsh conditions to the renowned Spanish interpreter, willing to use his social networks to give voice to an injustice. Beyond salaries, beyond contracts … Serigne Mamadou and hundreds of colleagues who arrived from Africa in the midst of a pandemic to pick fruit in the fields of Lleida raised their voices to denounce that they did not even have a roof to spend the night. “I don’t even remember the last time I cried, but that day I cried,” the footballer confessed to AS months ago. Tears ran down her cheek and ignited the action. Keita gave his space to Serigne in networks and, later, he went with direct help to look for a roof, food and clothes.
The first was the most complicated. Nogay Ndiaye, a high school teacher and anti-racist activist, was Keita’s right-hand man on the ground (the footballer was confined to Monaco, as he was then playing for the Principality club) went to work and encountered obstacles. This denounced that several hotels refused to host the seasonal workers due to racist prejudices. “I have received no’s and very resounding. When it’s a business, numbers matter to you. I was amazed. It was a lot of money on the table, “he added at the time in AS. Thanks to a lot of effort, lwith the help of Keita and Nogay it became reality. First came the clothes and then the accommodation.
This story that you have already read on these pages will now reach your screens in Informe +, the program that collects the legacy of Michael Robinson and his particular vision, on March 25 (9:45 p.m.) through #Vamos under the title of Siblings. The Sampdoria striker, from Genoa, telematically attended the press to present this documentary that he shares with Serigne Mamadou and tells of the defeat of racism in this party based on solidarity and brotherhood.
Roots, example and simplicity
In a telematic talk that lasts more than an hour, Keita Baldé explains himself simply and directly. As it is also in green. Electric, it moves expressively on the screen and launches straight at the target. After reviewing his story, he tells that of his father, the owner of a telephone booth in Catalonia when he was little, who helped other compatriots and gave them his place to sleep at night. The example I already had at home.
The attacker, a FC Barcelona youth squad, assures that “he learned a lot when he left Barça”. He had to go to Cornellá. The feet returned to the land from which he never disconnected. One, because of his roots, of which he is proud that they intertwine between Catalonia, Spain, Senegal and now, Italy, where his wife, Simona, is from, and the passport that his son now carries. Another, for a football that made him break the bubble, get to know different cultures, countries and be close to the world. A bubble of which, he affirms, there is an interest in creating and thinking that there is more than what it is. “There are people who are interested in being seen like this. That we have a life of luxury and in a bubble. But if I sit down with you they will realize that I am as normal a boy as anyone”, he confesses.
A “normal boy” who helped more than 200 fruit workers and who, he insists, does everything he can (he continues to actively help through Sergine), who feels comfortable in the role of reference (“we can open our eyes to people who are doing our same work or famous people in other sectors, of importance in other places “) but who demand that the institutions do their part. “They call me and thank me and try to talk to me to solve it, but I am a 25-year-old boy who plays football, I do not enter politics, but they rely on you.” As he himself said months ago, this problem must be solved by some officials who cannot wait for a ‘Keita Baldé’ in each port.
Grateful to those who help, he points to those who denied and put obstacles. Like the ‘no’s’ in hotels. For them he has a very specific plan, for which he says he lacks time even though you don’t win. “I would like to go well dressed myself, with ten more black friends and try to rent several rooms,” he says. Thus, I would wait for an answer and I would ask them why they should and, with that same money, it was not like that with the temporary workers who really needed it at a bad time at the business level in full strict confinement due to the pandemic of Coronavirus “Sure they would think “as this is poor, to know ‘. I have learned more from anonymous people than from famous people”, recognize. Among those teachers is, for sure, his now brother Sergine, although at one point he also refers to Piqué and his taste for getting wet. He also does not shy away from any questions.
‘Plug the hole’
With this Movistar report, Keita and Serigne will once again focus on an issue that they hope will improve in the absence of a few months before the stone fruit harvesting campaign is restarted in the area. The institutions must remedy so that this example remains unique. That Keita does not have to do the job of “president” that so many compatriots working in fruit in Spain ask of him. Because they feel that they received more help from him than from the leaders in question.
“It is a pride but nobody deserves these difficulties,” he says. He also speaks of difficulties in football terms when he arrives at the locker room. This story, which touches him so closely, helps him to relativize whether the ball enters or stops entering. “When I see someone sad in the locker room, I look at them and we think we are eating their heads for nonsense. The real problems are other “, he emphasizes. Those that he plugged as” a hole “.
“We talk about solutions for the future but in its day but, more generally”, affirms after assuring that the intention of his help was in full emergency. Long-term and concrete responses are expected from the institutions. At the moment, they are promises although the performances are progressing. From Lleida, Nogay Ndiaye, Keita’s right-hand man on the field, offers the current point of view for AS. “There are people who still remain here. From different entities that we work regularly with them, they have been provided food and also, after pressuring the council, they have reopened the sports hall where they already stayed at some point.”
This solution will be emergency and will also be applied in summer, but by 2022 you want to have a real solution. From the newspaper SegreThe council’s plan was reported to build a shelter that would serve homeless people in winter and also solve this problem of habitability of seasonal workers in the spring and summer season. This news reached the residents of the area and was not very well received. Nogay denounces, again, the attitude of several towards this problem by not wanting those facilities nearby. Again, stones in the way.
A budding actor? and a message that reverberates
“If you see my Instagram you can think that I am a phenomenon and that I do not say hello […] But if I sit down with you to eat, you would realize that I am as normal a boy as anyone. You will not even think that I am a footballer, “he assures. A normal boy who has gotten wet to solve a big problem, who speaks with more substance than is expected at 25 years old (fast, yes, but with weight) and that He has enjoyed this shoot, he likes it and he likes it in front of the cameras.
The boy who a few years ago dreamed while playing the ball in the streets of Catalonia to appear in the Robinson Report, today will star in a Report +. Keita looks comfortable in the close-ups that in the final cut have crossed with the music of the also Catalan Rosalía. “With the cameras I was in my sauce. It was easy for them. They found a top actor,” he says. between laughter praising the work of Raúl Román, also present in the talk, and his Informe + team, whom he tried to make feel at home. Roman confirms this by reviewing anecdotes with the forward, his wife and their son.
Comfortable with the cameras, with which he lives on the lawn and off it, Keita does not want the spokesman to eclipse the message of anti-racism, solidarity and helping others. Because he is no longer silent and has decided to ‘sing it’ louder than his goals, now at the service of Sampdoria.