Sakina Karchaoui, the good student of the street school

9:00 PM, July 17, 2022

There is something paradoxical behind this sunny smile: it is followed by 586,000 people on Instagram, more than any other girl on the French team, and yet the owner, Sakina Karchaoui, rarely parades in the media, turning to the “taulière” Wendie turn Renard (219,000) or the young striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto (115,000). “I’ve been coming here for years, people recognize me”, begins by explaining, embarrassed, the left side of the Blue, 49 selections since 2016, including a very successful Thursday against Belgium (2-1), synonymous with the quarter-finals of the European Championship. Before she admitted that she “It probably radiates something natural and that’s why people [la] also follow.

She would rather have a ball under her arm

About her publications, what she doesn’t do “don’t share so often”, the PSG player sometimes shows her taste for fashion and beauty. And this side “stylish off the field” smiles at her older sister, Sabrina, who remembers mostly tracksuits and ripped sneakers as a child: “She had a wild side. The doll didn’t interest him. » She had a balloon under her arm instead. On the knees, scratched while playing football on the asphalted square of his HLM town in Miramas (Bouches-du-Rhône) or, if the parents said yes, on a real field a little further.

Street football is feeling. There were rules at school and at home. Outside was freedom

“My big brother played, I accompanied him and that’s how I started to like it, says Sakina Karchaoui. One day, with my best friend, we watched the boys playing through the window and said to ourselves “why not us?”. We must have been 7 years old, and of course it happened. » There was the talent with the ball and there was the mood: “Street football is feeling. There were rules at school and at home. Outside was freedom. You expressed yourself in a different way: by hitting, dribbling, challenging yourself. Back then we played a lot at Petit Pont Moulon. Whoever took one was thrown out. Imagine if it came from a girl…’

But the one who then admired Samir Nasri, Robin Van Persie and OM – “I know where I’m coming from, if it bothers people…” – had a certain talent for it. “Even today people talk to me about it. I had this chance to not have too much trouble with the guys, as can be the case. I was their sister, there was a real family spirit between us. » Her best friend’s father sees potential and takes her under his wing. That’s good, Samir Touri trains with the American Miramas…

She was technically much better than the guys, she pulled the team up. She aroused respect

Even today he has “Goosebumps” as he recalls this afternoon at Salon-de-Provence, where she was cheered on after seventy-five minutes of an 11-a-side match in which she was the only female touch. “A girl who plays so alone is rare, he appreciates. She was technically much better than the guys, she pulled the team up. She aroused respect. » There were far fewer when, after taking on a women’s team in the middle of a boys’ championship, a father yelled at his son: “Break her, break her legs!” “We left the field”says Samir Touri.

Moved from midfield to defense

The girl has her temper too. “She hated losing, she cried”, extends his first coach. Former assistant in Montpellier, Aurore Aldon remembers her “strength of character, of those who go above”. Women’s football was still in its infancy and young girls had no role models. So was living with it ” an other world “. Her parents, originally from Morocco, let her try her luck when the Hérault club saw her at the age of 12. “Maybe they didn’t really understand that a girl plays soccerblows the Paris defender, but they never put any restrictions on me. »

It was she who took to the field, where her passion for dribbling and passing affected her sense of goal. “Like many fanatics who have evolved to the highest level, she comes from street football, notes Aurore Aldon, now in charge of pre-training in Montpellier. In fact, she embodies that completely. At that time it was common. It becomes atypical, because the girls play football in buildings or at school. It’s not just for boys anymore like it was fifteen years ago. » The bitten has moved: gone from midfield to defense (with Marcelo as a reference), from Montpellier to PSG via Lyon. At 26, she’s beaming as she ponders the aftermath: non-football projects she’s keeping a secret. A new hook.

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