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14 Gorgui Sy Dieng (SEN)
10/04/2020
Africa
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Senegal's Gorgui Dieng joins fight against COVID-19

DAKAR (Senegal) - Tough times call for resolute measures and the current pandemic has Senegal center Gorgui Dieng committed to being part of the solution to stop COVID-19 in its tracks and give a hand to the vulnerable in his home country. 

The Gorgui Dieng Foundation founded in 2015 is providing protective equipment intended for health personnel like protective gowns, masks FFP2, facial masks, prevention products, antiseptic products, hydro-alcoholic solutions and meal kit - groceries. 

"MY FOUNDATION IS HERE TO HELP PEOPLE IN NEED. PEOPLE'S NEEDS HAVE INCREASED TREMENDOUSLY OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS DUE TO THIS GLOBAL PANDEMIC. NOW MORE THAN EVER PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR US AND OTHERS FOR AID. IT IS OUR DUTY TO BE THERE FOR OUR PEOPLE. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME THAT WE ARE DOING WHAT WE CAN FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE. "- Dieng

Senegal recorded their first positive case on March 2 and their current tally stands at 265 cases with up to 137 people that have since recovered. 

Speaking exclusively to FIBA.basketball, Dieng said, "I have the privilege of being an influencer for so many people especially those in Senegal. With that, comes a responsibility to do the right thing and that involves helping the less fortunate. It is imperative that I lead by example during these uncertain and difficult times."

One of the two deaths registered in Senegal is football icon Pape Diouf who succumbed to COVID-19 on March 31.

His demise shook the Senegalese community within the country and across the Atlantic to France where he had great impact at Olympic de Marseille in the south as the first and only Black President of a football club in Europe's top tier leagues. 

"I did not know him personally but his impact in our community did not go unnoticed. Him being the first Black Chairman in European leagues is an amazing accomplishment, along with his journalism and agent background, Pape was a role model for our community. He will be missed very much and I send condolences and prayers to his family," Dieng commiserated. 

Dieng, who features for NBA side Memphis Grizzlies, is an established philanthropist who has been at the forefront of using his influence to provide medical equipment, fighting malnutrition, encouraging and educating farmers about innovative agriculture and holding basketball camps with his foundation.  

"My foundation is here to help people in need. People's needs have increased tremendously over the last few months due to this global pandemic. Now more than ever people are looking to us and others for aid. It is our duty to be there for our people. It is very important to me that we are doing what we can for the less fortunate," he elaborated. 

The NBA was the very first sports league across the world to suspend the season on March 11 to protect the health of every stakeholder right from the players to the coaching staff, workers and fans. 

Dieng commended them for this gesture, "I think the NBA and other sports leagues have done an amazing job of showing everyone that health is above all else. As you all may know, billions of dollars are being lost in the sports world due to this pandemic. It shows that health is a priority in the sports world despite what has to be gained."

Dieng is using his social media pages to encourage everyone to wash their hands, stay home and stay safe. It has been 100 days since the World Health Organization was notified of the first case of COVID-19.  

 FIBA