Aboubacar Sidiki Soumah talks about how lucky he was to have a role in Le Ballon d’or and how acting in a film changes things for young people.
How did you get a part in Le Ballon d’Or?
By chance! I wasn’t there when Cheick Doukouré and his team visited Guinean schools to find actors. I wasn’t feeling well and stayed home. The Principal told them he had a student who acted well and that they could see him the next day. He called me and I came to school especially. They came with a camera and chose me and three other kids like me. They chose an initial group of around 50 footballers, out of which they took 22 and then 4 for the film.
What was the main criterion of selection?
You had to be at least 12 and play football and be able to express yourself well, even if you didn’t understand what you were saying!
Have you had the opportunity to do other films since then?
I’ve just finished a film but only for the part in Guinea. Most of the film was shot in France Paris selon Moussa. It’s really funny!
Do you think you’ll be able to continue acting?
I think I could get into it later but I want to be a footballer. Being a filmmaker could be OK and maybe a journalist-commentator later on.
That’s a lot of goals!
I’d like to achieve all of them!
Which one are you most set on?
Football, and cinema after that.
It’s hard to come back to reality after a film like that!
Yes. The film is different to reality. You have to fight to get what you want. I’ve already tried out with St Etienne in France and I’m also going to try out with other clubs.
Why do you want to be a sports commentator?
Lots of them aren’t very good and it’s depressing.
The film was shot in lots of different places and was also shown on TV. Did this affect your relationship with your friends?
Just after I finished the film I was a hero! I had fans everywhere and everyone wanted to be my friend! As time went on, it settled down. Here, we take people as they are fame doesn’t last. I’m not worried about it. I can handle it, live the same life.
Fame is short-lived anyway.
It’s an opportunity. It’s nice. I would more opportunities – to represent my country and Africa even.
It’s quite easy to get a contract with a French football club.
You have to get out and be seen and show what you’ve got. We don’t have enough resources in Africa to help players and give them a chance to gain international recognition.
Have you continued to see Cheik Doukouré since the film?
Yes. He’s like a father to me. We’re together all the time when he’s here. And he’s using me in his new film, even if only for a small part.
Are you still going to school?
I passed my brevet (around age 14) and I have to go to high school. I want to become a reporter. I had to stop because my parents are poor. I’ve thrown myself into football to get some income to help them. But I’d like to go back to school now.
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