Silver Medals for The burkinabé teams!

This week, a number of silver medals were put on display in some Nakamtenga homes. Brought back by proud participants at the Africa Cup in floorball, “innebandy”, in Nairobi. The host Kenya proved too difficult in the finals for both the Burkina Faso teams but the girls pushed the home side to a penalty shootout.

– The Kenyans are much more experienced. Our team of teenage girls had to face the same team which also constitutes the Kenyan national team in land hockey*, we were not used to their kind of physical game, says Göran Björkdahl.

Having been an active player from the 70's, he brought his clubs with him to Burkina Faso in 1998 and managed to introduce the sport. Once again living in the country, working for Sida, he is now the national manager of both the ladies’ and the men’s team and he accompanied the players to Nairobi.

– An absolutely incredible experience for these youngsters. They really have grown with the challenge.

Floorball settled first in Ouagadougou but the other base is in Nakamtenga, where Swedish companies, partners to the NGO Yennenga Progress have brought equipment and trainers, with amazing results! Both on the sports field, but also when it comes to being role models, equality and courage. The floorball field is tremendously popular and has brought villagers together. And out here, in the middle of a traditional African farm land struggling with harsh preconditions, Nakamtenga children learnt the skill so well that they constitute half of the two national teams.

Last year, they boarded a bus to Ivory Coast for the first ever Africa Cup – this year they went by air across the continent.

– An enormous boost of their confidence. I wanted very much to help establish a sport suitable for girls in this environment. They mostly have such a limited life outside of the homes, they do not get out, says Göran Björkdahl.

– Through floorball, the girls become much better prepared for society once they are adults.

The psychological impact benefits the whole of Nakamtenga. Flying to Nairobi is something villagers have never dreamt of.

– They are very proud of their young players which represent their country. “Innebandy” – which we of course play out in the open – really contributes to our ambition with The Good Village, says Yennenga's secretary general, Stina Berge.

Meanwhile, Göran Börkdahl in the capital is pulling strings in order to hopefully convince Burkina Faso to host next year’s tournament.

*Land hockey, reminiscent of Swedish “bandy” but played on grass, is an old and established sport, not least very popular in former British colonies and a summer Olympic game.