Hey everybody, you are watching Playground Volume 2 for this episode we went 10 000km away from France. Welcome… to Mayotte Can you believe what you see ? We play hard here. The last two months have been crazy. It’s a first in Mayotte. He shook ! Basketball is not Mayotte’s number one sport but it’s not far from it. Because it’s the fastest growing sport. They are not just for show, they go hard here. Basketball here is way tougher. Players run fast and jump high. And they play really tough. We play outdoors, not on hardwood floors. Mayotte’s basketball is tough. No mistake is allowed. Tonight we were in Mgombani. Msadjadja ! Msadjadja is how we call street basketball. It allows young players to express themselves outside of practice. Msadjadja is vital here. When I was young, we played all day. Next step of the Playground project, today we are in Kaweni, near Mamoudzou. We came here to show you the Ramadan tournament. Basketball does not only belong in Mamoudzou but everywhere in Mayotte. Hey everybody, you are watching Playground Volume 2. As you can see, we are on a beach in Mayotte, the 101st French department situated between Comoros and Madagascar. We came here to dive into Mayotte’s basketball. Let’s go ! What struck me first when I arrived on the island was the huge amount of playground it hosted. There are playgrounds everywhere : in the cities, the hoods, on the seaside, even in Mayotte’s remotest villages. You can play basketball just about anywhere. This is the first thing that struck me and it gave me the desire to film Playground 2 in Mayotte. It felt like people in Mayotte truly loved basketball. The Playground project started in Mamoudzou, the capital, where we met Gorobo, a player who knows really well Mgombani neighborhood. He showed us how things go down there. Gorobo, I’m on my way. Let’s go ! What’s up ? – How are you ?
– Fine, and you ? Let me introduce you to Gorobo, Mayotte’s sharpest shooter and member of the Jeunesse Canon team. – You know how I roll.
– Tell me, where are we ? We are in downtown Mamoudzou, in Mgombani. “Mgombani city”. It’s a lively neighborhood. There is everything you could wish for. We will take a look around and then talk about basketball. – Sure.
– Alright, let’s go. What are they cooking ? Coconut rice, coconut pigeon peas, mataba… – A bit of everything.
– I tasted mataba once. – It’s made with manioc leaves, isn’t it ?
– That’s right. Tell me more about your neighborhood. What’s its history ? The neighborhood is undergoing a full renovation. Before, there were mangroves there so people had to pass through the mud. – It’s not the case anymore.
– Now, the floor is smooth. It really got better. It’s a lively neighborhood, when you go outside you never get bored, right ? Sure, it’s always crowded and you’ll always find something to do. Now, let’s talk basketball, since that’s why we are here for.
– Of course. We are on Mgombani’s playground. I would like to know how important this playground is within the community. Are there many people usually playing here ? The neighborhood is lively thanks to this playground. Because all the youth gets together on this playground. But since three teams play here on a regular basis, it’s hard to make room for everyone. Sorry to interrupt but… There are three teams here ? – Three teams, yes.
– Three teams in a single neighborhood ? In a single neighborhood. There is a huge demand. Has it got something to do with the number of young people or basketball is just that popular on the island ? Basketball really is that popular. Besides, since other stadiums are further away, basketball tends to prevail. Talking about that, I’ll tell you more later about the idea we came up with to free some space for people who can’t play in clubs. Next to the playground, there is this famous tree which gathers all generations. Children, teenagers and older guys… It’s open to everyone. It helps to free some space and give people the desire to play street ball Some feel more comfortable here while others prefer to play in clubs. The choice is up to you. We’ll end our stop in Mgombani with that. We’ve been staying here for a little while so we have a lot to show you. See you soon. – Thanks, man.
– See you. – Respect.
– Respect and robustness. This man is cold. – Where we at ?
– In Mgombani. Tonight we were in Mgombani. Let’s meet in Cavani on the 14th, of this month. Mgombani was the first step. It helped us to get started on the project. We chose this neighborhood because we knew we would find many street ballers. Starting there allowed us to easily bring a lot of players together and to film them as way to convince new players to come to the next stops. It worked out quite well because they came in large numbers to the next stops. We would like to thank Mgombani for helping us to launch our project. Now, let’s to to Cavani to see how things are done in Mamoudzou’s other neighborhood. Welcome to Cavani. We’re in the hood. This is weird, there is a tree in that restaurant. Cavani is actually a valley surrounded by hills. Everybody has a sea view. We took a look around the neighborhood, now let’s head to Cavani’s playground Soccer is the most popular sport here. In Mamoudzou, they have one of the rare synthetic fields in the island. The playground is just behind. Well, I’m going to try a soccer kick first. People play barefoot here. It burns ! I’m aiming for the goalkeeper, of course it’s not going in. Thank you ! Welcome to Cavani’s playground. One of the few playgrounds with bleachers. What makes it special is that they got rid of the handball goals so it’s only dedicated to basketball. As you can see with the CourtCuts logo right there the playground has already been baptized. See you later. Cavani was the second step. We had the barbecue, the players, the sound system, the mic controller Proper backboards, floor and bleachers. One of Mayotte’s best playgrounds. Soccer is Mayotte’s most popular sport. But basketball has been the fastest growing one in recent years. I mean, regarding the players’ level of skill. 20 years ago, basketball was not even a thing here. But since 10 or 15 years, it has been increasing in popularity thanks to the television and the Internet. We’re able to watch American and mainland games live. I can’t say it’s the number one sport but it’s not far from it. I personnaly think this is the only sport bringing something to the table here. It’s always basketball teams that manage to win against Reunionese teams, to compete in mainland championships, to attend international competitions and return with successes. Today, people all over Mayotte acknowledge that basketball leads to sporting achievements. We beat the Reunion Island team and won the Indian Ocean Champions Cup. Today, we’re able to win against Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles. In the mainland, Mayotte has played the national championship, three years in a row. Us in 2014. Vautour in 2015 and 2016. When we win the championship we must compete in the Final Zone, between Mayotte and Reunion Island, the two French departments of the Indian Ocean. The Final Zone winner will then proceed to play in the mainland Division 3 national championship. The winner of the Mayotte’s Cup can play in the Indian Ocean Champions Cup. Which brings together Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion and Comoros Our reward as champions is to travel. If we win, we may fly to Reunion Island, the mainland, Madagascar or the Seychelles. It’s obviously a great source of motivation. When you win Mayotte, you get to travel as a reward. We’re talking about all-expenses-paid trips, with restaurants and hotels. So you’re floating on a cloud. Just by facing the Reunionese, we can tell they have a similar style as mainland teams. The difference in playing styles is obvious. You really can’t miss it. They tend to slow down the pace and announce systems while we drive straight to the hoop with a make it or break it mindset. We’re never thinking twice, we want to score at all costs if it’s missed, someone behind gets the rebound and tries to put it in. The difference is that we play a rougher basketball. Way more physical. Physicality, skill and speed. We like to put on a show. We take every chance we get to play fast and one-on-ones. We’re not afraid of getting physical. We have small players who jumps really high. There are 170cm players who can jump and throwdown. It’s something I find great here. Players run fast, jump high and play hard. Third step : Ongoujou. Nothing alike before, we took a bus. I mean, we gathered players from Mamoudzou and surrounding areas, and we all took a bus to bring basketball to village where it’s not usually played. The setting in Ongoujou is really cool. The playground is elevated and you can see both the lagoon and the valley from there. It makes it an amazing place to play basketball, it’s not something you could find on the mainland. What really left a strong impression is that all the kids came to dance and watch the games as soon as we put some music on. At the beginning there was no audience but we ended up with 100, or maybe 150 persons on the playground. Just by playing music … and basketball. It can only happen here. Ongoujou, here we go. Driver, where are we going ? Ongoujou ! Today we keep playing Msadjadja as a part of the Playground Project. So we decided to shoot in Ongoujou. All the basketball players of Mayotte are gathered here. Guys coming from Petite-Terre, Mamoudzou. All basketball players are invited ! This day wouldn’t be happening without this man.
– No, it’s not true. – Without this man !
– I’m just one of the ones who help. – There would not be any food today without you.
– Yes, I guess so ! It’s one of Mayotte’s traditional dishes. Rice and mabawa. Thank you very much. Tell ’em ! – Tell ’em !
-Yeah, tell ’em ! I’m going to ! I’ll tell ’em. Today, we’re climbing Mount Choungui. We came with a basketball team. The ten of us are going to get up there. 600 meters high. A slope like this. It’s hot as hell. Let’s go. It’s slippery but we’re still going. You know what I’m saying. We’re walking on the trail, for the moment. There he is, there he is. – You’re holding up Abou ?
– Yes I am, we’re almost there guys. It’s hard, though. Once you managed to get up here, you’re almost done. Now, I don’t know how to climb down. Call 911, they will send an helico. Mount Choungi, we’ve done it. Beware. There are bonobos. It took us 25 minutes to climb Mount Choungui. Mount Choungui, it’s done. It was pretty intense, even though it was a quick climb. It’s physically challenging, but if you spend some time in Mayotte, you have to do it. The view up there is amazing. Camera’s rolling ? Next step : Mtsangamboua Second step we went to with a bus. Just like before, we gathered players and brought them to a village where people don’t usually play basketball. And just like before, you could see the lagoon from the playground. Straight in the middle of the village. A really nice setting with a clean playground and bleachers. Things actually went like in Ongoujou. We put some music on, we brought players to compete in a tournament and the bleachers gradually got filled. We ended up with a whole audience by the end of the tournament. With people applauding for every dunk. At the end, we played the final wearing CourtCuts tshirts. Mtsangamboua was dope. Mtsangamboua, the second step we went to with a bus. You’re about to discover the village playground. Here is the recap ! We came to Mtsangamboua with eight teams. The level was way better than usual. There are at least 14 games left. We’re here until midnight. But since we love basketball, we’ll be there. We represent. Even if we have to work or go to school Today is our vacation, we don’t care. Alright. Today, new step of the project. We take a break from the playgrounds to go on one of Mayotte’s most beautiful beaches. It’s down south. It’s called Ngouja. White sand, turquoise water, coconut trees. Heaven on Earth. Let’s go ! Welcome to Ngouja. Our plan today is simple : we brought a hoop and put it in the water. Game’s on ! Manu ! We’re witnessing some crazy stuff. There are turtle nests hatching on the beach so there are many babies crawling in the sand. They are going to the sea to swim in the water. Keep going ! You’re almost there ! Actually, I have been following just one but hundreds of them are coming now. It’s crazy ! Just like ants. You saw the little turtles, now let’s see the big ones. Our day in Ngouja is ending. We put some nasty dunk in and outside the water. It was nice. Let’s go home. The real difference lies in the facilities. There are only three gymnasiums for the whole island. There is one in Cavani but it’s not used for basketball, except for the All-Star games. There is one in l’Abattoir but it has been closed for year because of electrical and leaking issues. So we have to play outside, we don’t play on hardwood. Everybody trains on outdoor courts. We can’t play when it’s raining. Official games are cancelled as well since we have to play them outside. Playing on asphalt floors puts a strain on players joints and since we’re always jumping… If you fall on the ground here you know you’re out for at least a month. We have to share the playgrounds with handball and soccer teams. It’s a real mess to organize practices and games on the weekend. But playing outside allows us to be here 24/7. What also allows young players to express themselves is basketball played outside of practices. Msadjadja ! Msadjadja is how we call the streetball here. That’s how young people start to play basketball. What you call Msadjadja is vital here. Back when I was young, we played all day. It’s Basketball 101 because most of the people starting to play have to go through Msadjadja, on playgrounds. They’re here to have fun and to put on a show there is also a crowd watching. Most of the famous players you know now knew how to handle the ball and do a lay-up before joining a club. Go to any playground in Mayotte. Any playground ! Even in the most remote areas of the island you’ll always find young people on the playgrounds. Because like I told you, sport is the only hobby for the youth. We play every 5-on-5 games like a final so we go all out, we play rough and we never back down. It’s really important and it’s very much appreciated on the island. Msadjadja. The only thing missing is sporting goods balls, shoes… But even shoeless, you’ll always find people playing. We can play shoeless. I discovered something specific to Mayotte. I don’t think it exists in the mainland. Tournaments during the Ramadan. These tournaments last one month. I interviewed Oiseau, back in Kaweni. I’m with my man Oiseau, from Kaweni. He’s going to tell us more about the Ramadan tournaments. How long does it last ? When does it start ? When does it end ? It lasts one month. This year, we welcomed 12 teams. Some mixed teams, and some women’s teams. So we added some rules to make it balanced. They played 20 minutes non stop halves. Half-time. Last 20 minutes, then onto the next one. Because there were four games every night. – Four games every night ?
– Four games every night. The goal is to play as much as possible. So when you sign up, by the end of the tournament you’re fully satisfied. 40 minutes games with referees. It also allows referees to prepare for the championship, since it’s currently on a break. It helps keeping the blood flowing, so everyone’s ready when the season begins. So basketball never stops in Mayotte ? Basketball never stops in Mayotte ! All day. We sleep basketball, we eat basketball. It’s the final today the playground is crowded. Is it like this every year ? It’s like this every year, we’re celebrating Eid. So many people come. The best teams face each other in the final. We’ll try our best to win tonight, as my team reached the final. We’ll show you how it’s going down. Anyway, thank you Oiseau ! It’s half-time. We’re three points ahead. It’s really intense. A lot of free-throws are overlooked but it’s a good game. We’re having fun. Let’s start the second half. Ramadan is ending, the tournament as well. They won, we lost. Good game. It even went to overtime. It was truly awesome, thank you. – It was amazing !
– We won ! You should have played with the best ! Today, we went to the beach again. This one is called Sohoa. We’re going to show something simple to do in Mayotte : the kayak tour. Look at that. Here are our weapons of the day. Let’s go ! I told him we were kayaking today and he brought his sound system. Classic. What an attitude ! The great thing about kayaking is that you can go to beaches you can’t walk to. This is dope. We are alone ! These tracks were made by turtles. They came to lay eggs here. So there should be eggs right there. The sun is setting, we should head home. We’re on the lagoon, it’s perfectly quiet, the sun is setting. It can’t get any better. Mayotte’s flagship basketball events are the All-Star Game the finals, the playoffs after the regular season France Cup final Mayotte Cup final the championship. In addition to the league’s official competitions there is the All-Star Game which we first organized in 2013. It’s a truce in the middle of the season which allow usual opponents to gather together to have a big party, with a huge show. It’s great. Today, it’s Saturday 17th of March it’s Mayotte’s All-Star game day the island’s most important basketball event. I’m going to show you how that works, follow me. This is how we do it here. 500 persons, it’s going to be crazy tonight. All the steps we did first were focused on Msadjadja which is streetball so the winning team stays on the court while the losing team gets out. As an ending to our project, we decided to pick the best players from each step and shoot exhibition games. The first game will take place in Koropa. We’re in Majicavo Koropa, our next step and I’m with Kacho who plays in the local club. He’s going to take me on a tour of the neighborhood. He’s pissed off. Really pissed off. – You told me this neighborhood is also called Dubai.
– Yes. Is there a reason ? Did you guys pick the nickname ? Yes, we picked that nickname. It’s because of the stores. – Since there are a lot of stores, you called it Dubai.
– Yes. – So, we’re here in Majicavo Koropa but we’re also in…
– Dubai. In Dubai. We were allowed to get on a roof to see what the neighborhood looks like from above. So as you can see it’s kind of a shantytown. – We’re in ?
– Massimoni ! Tire race is a classic here. I’m going to race against the kids. Second in the famous Majicavo Koropa Tire race. They took us to Majicavo Koropa highest point. On one side, there is Majicavo Koropa. On the other, Kaweni. We’re finally arriving to the playground. It’s just behind. The next step will take place here. We’re in the middle of Koropa neighborhood. You told me this playground used to be a soccer field. How old is the playground ? It’s been 16 or 17 years. This is a 17 years old playground ? Do you think people in Koropa are more into soccer or basketball ? Both, but… Soccer is just a notch ahead. Basketball is a close second. It’s here that will take place the showdown between the elderly, “the Bakokos” and the youth, “the Ouanatsas”, so the first exhibition game, as a part of Playground Volume 2, in Mayotte. Our step in Koropa was one of the craziest we did. The atmosphere in the neighborhood was amazing. During the game, the show was really sick. Let’s discover it right now, you’re still watching Playground Volume 2. Let’s go ! The disrespect ! He has no respect ! Today, we’re on a new mission. I’m waiting the guys, they will soon pick me up. We’re going to Sable Blanc island to play basketball there. Something that has never been done before. Heading to the Sable Blanc island. We’ll go there on a small fishing boat. They will land us on the island. We’re waiting for the low tide to bring the hoop to the other end of the island, where the sand is really hard so we can play a game. Let me introduce you to the James Harden from Mayotte. – James Ardent.
– The right man for the job. Sable Blanc island, it’s done ! Then, we will land on Saziley beach to eat some fish. And we hope to see turtles hatching because there are a lot of nests there. Second time we, basketball players, hang out together and second time we’re witnessing hatching. Not in Ngouja this time, but Saziley. The day is over, we’re taking the boats to go home. The aftermath of the game as you can see, the hoop isn’t even there. For the exhibition games between Playground’s best players the island’s best players We decided to make the elderly and the youth face each other Bakokos versus Ouanatsas. Older than 30 against younger than 30. We did this duel of generations twice and for the second time we went back to Cavani neighborhood, in Mamoudzou. Because they have one of the best-suited playgrounds for basketball. It’s not slippery and it doesn’t hurt that much when you fall on the ground compared to other playgrounds. And it has bleachers, everything. So we decided to return to Cavani for this second exhibition game. This is how we do it here ! Can you believe what you see ? We play hard here, we ain’t joking ! Steal ! Hamza ! Playground Volume 2 is coming to an end and to conclude, I brought you to Petite-Terre more precisely at the Dziani Lake. Petite-Terre is a small island of Mayotte which hosts the airport, meaning that it’s where you land when you come to Mayotte. On this 11 square meters island, there are actually four playgrounds four teams and two gymnasiums. Basketball is played a lot in Petite-Terre. To conclude on basketball in Mayotte, it’s really a big surprise. Both the level of skill and the enthusiasm are huge around here. There are many illuminated playgrounds all over the island so people play night and day, throughout the year. Ramadan tournament, Mayotte Cup, championship everyone can get a piece of the cake, all year round. And during summer, the Msadjadja, which is vital here. It’s true that we haven’t met many girls during the shootings but we’re not forgetting them. Here, women’s basketball is as important as men’s basketball. It has a lot of success and there are many girls on the playgrounds as well. That’s my conclusion on Mayotte’s basketball. It was really an amazing experience The island is wonderful and full of welcoming people. I’ll leave you now to discover Pamandzi’s Ramadan tournament, in Petite-Terre. You’re about to discover the AJP playground, which is the last one. It’s time to say goodbye with some few words in Shimaore for this episode we went 10 000km away from France. You’re welcome to Mayotte. He slapped you !