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We shoot and we point all year in Burkina
The regional Pétanque tournament attracts teams from many cities, in the district of Song-Naba, in Ouagadougou, on July 14th. SOPHIE DOUCE / THE WORLD

The noise of metal balls clashing gives the tempo. On a vast ground in red earth, one holds one's breath, one points and one draws. "Go champion, you have to win! AT"shouts a player in a yellow jersey to his teammate. Because here, the petanque, "It's serious". No plane trees, flip flops and even less aniseed aperitif. But a few bags of water and especially a sports outfit  "demanded © e Â" pants, tee-shirt and sneakers are de rigueur. "When you play, you do not have the right to drink alcohol, smoke or phone, you have to stay focused", recalls Aboubakary Guiro, organizer of the regional league tournaments that take place every weekend in the capital.

"Did you see the crowd? AT", he slips, updating his organization chart of meetings between teams. This Sunday, July 14, more than 200 bowlers have invested the court of a school district of Song-Naba, Ouagadougou, for "The love of the game", but also for "Dream a little" and try to get the first prize: 100,000 CFA francs (150 euros), which is nothing compared to the smig which amounted to 32,218 CFA francs (49 euros).

"Like Dylan Rocher"

In the crowd, a young man prepares to face his second team of the morning. With his mother eighty-three, his biceps and his pecs of athlete, Amadou Tamboura rather has the physique of a basketball player. However, his sport, it's the petanque and he misses no meeting for four years. "I've discovered this child discipline by watching the old guys play in the neighborhood, I wanted to try my turn and then I fell in.", says the 22-year-old "pointer" who is also a street vendor and trains every night from "16 to 18" with friends and neighbors. From now on, the young Burkinabé will be able to reach the professional level, "Play like Dylan Rock", the French triple world champion.

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In the background, the loudspeakers spit a flickered shine. "Go on, give everything! AT" encourages Bernard Congo, aka DJ Pétanque at the microphone. "I'm here to get them moving and motivate them to win, you have to stay up to 18 hours, it's tiring with this heat"he points out, sitting in front of his local beer bottle next to the traditional fat rice and chicken bicycle vendors. "No petanque on an empty stomach! AT"exclaims this one, laughing.

We shoot and we point all year in Burkina
In Ouagadougou, we measure the distance of the jack with the means of the edge. But when there is a dispute, we get out the double decimetre. SOPHIE DOUCE / THE WORLD

The 35 ° C in the shade does not scare old people or young people. It is also this mixture of generations that pleases. Â € œAllows us to get closer to the elders, I listen to their advice, they teach me patience and perseverance, itâ € ™ s an integrated sportâ €says Amidou Sawadogo, a 24-year-old law student.

"At the petanque, there is no age or social class, you will find mechanics, traders, officials to play together after their day. AT", congratulates Aboubakary Guiro. "And what about men! AT"Aguà © ratou Ganameà ©, the only female professional bowler from Burkinaâ € | At 35, the one nicknamed Adji the Redoubt is trying to break this clichà ©. "I was put there six years ago during my maternity leave, I was not taken seriously at the beginning, but I fought and became a passion, a true lifestyle! AT", enjoy this manager of a maquis (bistro), which never moves without its six balls of 680 grams and his jack under the saddle of his scooter. Her dearest wish would be to train the first Burkina Faso women's team and to compete with "Best French players".

We shoot and we point all year in Burkina
At the age of 35, Aguà © ratou Ganameà © is the only female professional bowler in Burkina Faso. She is nicknamed Adji the Redoubtable. SOPHIE DOUCE / THE WORLD

National sport

Born a hundred years ago in the south-east of France, the petanque passion more and more in Burkina Faso and on the rest of the continent. "She is very popular in Tunisia, Morocco or even Benin. Thirty countries already have their own federation ", observes Idrissou Ibrahima, the president of the African Sports Ball Conference (Casb) which sits in Cotonou. "This game came here with colonization. Originally, it was rather intended for the elites, but it gained momentum from the 1980s, and today everyone is doing it AT" proudly summed Arsène Macaire Kaboré, head of the Burkinabe Feudal Football Federation.

We shoot and we point all year in Burkina
Counting of the points of the teams after a regional tournament of pétanque, in the district of Song-Naba, in Ouagadougou, on July 14th. SOPHIE DOUCE / THE WORLD

It is so true that the variant of the game provencal from now on the first two national sports that are football and cycling and Stallions, the national team of Burkina, has even won for the second consecutive year the Cà © dà © ao Cup in June. So, in the "six-meter" of Ouagadougou, as we call the small streets in red earth, we meet amateurs and professionals. "This sport is still poorly recognized and is still considered a hobby, regrets the president of the national federation, which counts 73 clubs and 2,000 fired. But we are scrambling, with our arid soil, we can play almost everywhere in the country as long as it rolls! AT" Or that "plumb", as we say here when the ball falls directly near the jack.

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