Why Senegal fans the world over are recreating their team’s famous warm-up dance
Fans’ efforts at the performance have been praised by the players themselves.
It was one of the most joyous images of the World Cup so far: the Senegal players joining together in a beautifully synchronised warm-up dance ahead of their tie with Japan.
Now Senegal fans around the world are recreating the moment to show their support for the team.
In fact it’s become a viral sensation known as the #ThieuguineChallenge.
Mais notre échauffement #ThieuguineChallenge sous la pluie aussi. Non mais vous êtes pas possible les gars, the love is real 🇸🇳😭❤️ Bonne chance à nos Lions YAllah nalen YAllah may ndam 🦁🙏🏾 #WorldCup #Sen pic.twitter.com/RCixtwdWja— Mo Djamil (@MoDjamil) June 28, 2018
Twitter user Mo Djamil said he came up with the name for the challenge and gave his explanation of the meaning of Thieuguine.
“It’s just to mimic a drum sound,” the Senegalese told the Press Association. “It’s like when you want to play the drums with your mouth.
“Thieuguine Challenge is just a way to prove to our players that we support them in this World Cup from here in Senegal.
“There’s not so many Senegalese supporters in Russia and through the internet we try to motivate our players from all over the world.”
The Senegal fan’s support has been seen by the team too – Senegal captain Cheikhou Kouyate sent Mo a message of thanks on Instagram.
“Bro it’s real nice even with the heavy rain you made it,” Kouyate wrote. “Thank you for everything from all the players.”
“The rain doesn’t stop lions bro,” replied Mo. “Good luck.”
Senegalese fans across the world are also getting involved.
Pope Yamar Diop, 24, organised another dance in Paris, where he is a student.
“The idea of this challenge comes from our brothers who are in Senegal supporting our lions, who do this on every match evening,” said Pope. “Being patriots we decided to reproduce this in France to show the players that this support is international.
“All the Senegalese of the world are behind them, what has been a success with the presence of many young Senegalese in defence with their jerseys and flags.
“This dance, as such I would define it as a cry, allows the players to show that they are mentally and physically ready by some words used in the song: ‘dafay gueuna nekh’, meaning it will be better and ‘daniouy dem ba diekh’, meaning we will go to the end.”
Oumy Gueye Ndoye, a Senegalese student living in Arkansas, US, shared a video of herself and a friend trying the dance at her college.
“The dance was installed in Senegal way before I was even born,” Oumy said. “It just shows our energy and a spirit of unison.
“Dancing is important in all of our sports. We have great supporters who support us in anything but this World Cup is something that we’ve been wanting to experience again for a long time, that’s why we want to have fun.
“The dance is actually not difficult at all – I’m terrible at it, but people enjoy it.”