This Sunday, February 12, at 4:30 pm (local time), the kick-off of the 57th edition of the Super Bowl, the final game of the American Football Championship (NFL), will be presented in Glendale, Malik, Arizona. Alian is sure to be starry-eyed from his American University campus, a few hundred kilometers away in Roswell, New Mexico.
Because since the beginning of the last academic year, the young Rouenois, almost 20 years old, was recruited by the American football team of the New Mexico Military Institute, a junior college where he continues his studies in parallel with his scholarship. Success.. rare on the level of French coaches. Almost a waking dream for the boy, “Even if it was an army company, we would line up in the yard every morning at 6am with the bell ringing! I, at first, did not believe that it still existed … “.
He took his first steps on the ground, when he was about sixteen, at the Leopards of Rouen (Seine-Maritime), a club in the city, where he returned to health after being born in Le with his mother at the age of ten. A round trip to Guadeloupe with a stay in Havre, Senegal. “Initially, I played American football on a console. And at 13, I watched my first Super Bowl, and the first half was at midnight…I loved the atmosphere, the helmets, the game.
Only here, despite his already impressive size – today he measures 1.89 m for 145 kg and lifts 180 kg of cast iron in the bench press – his mother did not take kindly to this contact sport. “She was scared. She had heard about shocks, the dangers of concussions… We had to reassure her. »
Malik impressed his first coaches from the start. Pierre Miellot, who trained him in his early days, still remembers it. “Physically, he is exceptional for his age. He was immediately promoted to U19. He obviously had a lot to discover, but he was demanding and determined. He wanted to learn all the time and be the best. »
As a student at Val-de-Seine High School in Grand-Quilly, Malik set high sporting goals, even if it meant using his spare time — and his homework — for extra sessions like bodybuilding, jogging, and more. Apparently not. You had to cheat classes. I came home late from practice. My grades dropped little by little. But I trusted my mother and asked her to believe in me and in my plan. Because from the beginning, he believed in his ability.
He rose through the ranks with the Broncos
From the second year on, as summed up by his former coach, the player “explodes” at the “guard” position on the offensive line, protecting the quarterback and opening up gaps for runners. A shadow vessel, all paradoxically, you must be lively, massive, and mobile while being heavy. “Physically and technically, he expressed himself after working in the summer. And he learned to manage his emotions. »
Malik Alian was spotted by Amiens-based Bole France, and the following year, he joined… amid an epidemic. “But thanks to our special status, I was still able to train. I learned a lot despite the imprisonment and Covid,” recalls the young man.
His progress was steady. He played one game among the seniors with the France A team, where, again, he impressed before spending a season with the Nice club readying his move to America. “When I look at his journey, as the teenager he was, it warms the heart to see him leave like that”, slips Pierre Miellot with a touch of emotion. “Obviously, there is a lot of affection between us. We talk regularly, almost every week. Not necessarily in sports, but in the way of catching up on everyday things, life in general. »
In New Mexico, the first season was marred by visa issues, but Malik rose through the ranks of the ambitious Broncos team, only slightly behind his incumbent. He hopes the next one will allow him to express himself and get noticed by top university recruiters to continue his American adventure.
“I think step by step, trying to overcome them one by one, giving myself the means to get there. Of course, I don’t use much of campus life … but I know my goals. The road to the NCAA, the championship of the major American universities, the springboard for the NFL, the professional league, the Mecca of American football? Still long and full of pitfalls.” It’s very complicated, that’s for sure. He knows that…”, exasperating his first coach. While adding: “But, I believe it! »