Born in a refugee camp in Africa, he is on the way to becoming a star of world football: Alphonso Davies, 19-year-old Canadian prodigy already matured by life, has become this season a key holder at Bayern Munich.
This fabulous destiny, this very young man has already told it often. It was born in the year 2000 in Ghana, in an insanitary camp, of parents who had fled the civil war in Liberia. Her mother remembers that she sometimes had to step over corpses to get food.
Little Alphonso is almost five years old when the family is allowed to emigrate to Canada. First in Windsor, Ontario, then later in Edmonton, Alberta.
Life is tough for newcomers: "After training, he went straight home to change the diapers of his brother and sister, at ten, because his parents worked and could not afford a baby-sitter, "recalls his first trainer, Nick Huoseh, who became his agent.
"You enter the adult world faster when you have to cook for the little ones while your friends play video games," admits the young man: "My father woke up at four in the morning, my mother worked from 22:00 at 8:00 am It was hard (...) but we were happy. "
- "Good boy" -
Football will turn his life upside down. Gifted, Alphonso was quickly spotted by the great Vancouver club, the Whitecaps, who played in the professional MLS championship. His mother, worried about him going wrong, hesitates to let him go. She finally gave in, but not without having wrested from her a solemn promise: "I promised to be a + good boy + (a good boy), he says, to always keep my feet on the ground and never forget where I come from. "
During the interruption of competitions due to the coronavirus, he participated in a fundraising operation for the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "The UNHCR supported me for a long time, now the time has come to give back," he simply commented.
In Vancouver, he shines with his precocity: the youngest professional player in Canada at 15, the youngest international player in the history of his country at 16! Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic, who travels the world in search of rare pearls, smells the right operation.
Davies was recruited at the end of 2018 for 11.5 million euros. And found himself at 18 in training with stars he saw on television, including Arjen Robben, his childhood idol and that of his father: "It was an immense honor, he remembers, to be able to play with him all at once. "
- "Life insurance" -
Two years later, the value of Davies is estimated at 45 million. "And we can no longer imagine the team without him," says Salihamidzic.
Its hatching dates back to last fall, when coach Hansi Flick had the brilliant idea to transform this left winger into a lateral defender. "He is life insurance for us, thanks to his speed", says the coach, "defensively he is solid, and offensively he takes more and more responsibility".
Going to the back, the kid from Edmonton has lost none of his dribbling skills, but he is now strong in duels and still unbeatable in sprinting.
Recently, Thomas Müller made all of Germany laugh by calling him "Bip-Bip", from the name of the cartoon bird that forever escapes the coyote. But Davies, who cherishes the idea of a cinema career after football, sees himself rather as a superhero! Black Panther, in the Avengers, is the role he would most like to play. "Because it's the one that suits me best," he says, laughing.
For now, he has been content during the forced break to shoot some funny videos on his sofa and share them on social networks.
"Life is too short to waste time getting upset or being sad," he laughs, "and I think if children anywhere in the world hear my story, they can get it." motivation and find the courage to realize their own dreams too. "
© 2020 AFP