Victory against cancer, triumph on the field: Haller’s dual final feat

Radio Univers
Radio Univers
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Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the testicles of the male reproductive system. It typically starts as an abnormal growth of cells within the testicles, leading to the formation of a tumor. Testicular cancer can have physical, emotional, sexual, and social effects on individuals.

Physically, it may cause pain, swelling, or discomfort in the testicles and scrotum. In advanced stages, it can spread to other parts of the body. Emotionally, it can lead to shock, fear, anxiety, and depression. Treatment may affect sexual function, fertility, and hormone levels. Socially, it can disrupt work, relationships, and daily activities, with treatment-related side effects impacting quality of life.

However, treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, depending on the type and stage of the cancer.

This is the disease Ivorian prolific striker, Sébastien Haller, contracted.

On July 18,2022, Sébastien Romain Teddy Haller was diagnosed of testicular cancer.

Sébastien Haller on his sick bed receiving treatment.

Haller opened up that he initially noticed a health concern while representing the Ivory Coast national team on May 31,2022. Despite noticing the health issue earlier while away with the Ivorian national team, Haller did not seek medical attention for it until six weeks later.

“I started the national team [break] with this pain in my belly,’ he said. ‘I thought it was a stomach ache, three days of not digesting well, feeling like you have something in your stomach.”

“It’s OK, I thought. I’m not someone that always goes to see the doctor because I have pain. I take a few pills, it goes away. I tried to play, I trained. Then I had four days of flu symptoms: I was struggling to breathe, I couldn’t finish training.” Haller told The Times newspaper.

After undergoing a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, medical professionals discovered a tumor and diagnosed Haller with testicular cancer.

During an interview with the BBC, he shared his experience of coping with the diagnosis.

“Of course, you realise it is something really serious that is happening, that a lot of things can change,. But the urologist helped me not to be scared. He said I could heal well. I took all his words for granted”

During his six-month treatment period, Haller underwent two surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy, resulting in side effects such as hair loss and abdominal swelling. But Haller said he’s undeterred by these effects

“This is nothing. For me, this is just appearance, just physical. The real side-effects are the headaches, the nausea, the pains in your stomach.”

Early January 2023, Haller made his first appearance on the pitch after battling testicular cancer. Coincidently, he scored his first goal after his return on World Cancer Day against Freiburg in a 5-1 win for Dortmund on February 2,2023.

Haller’s spectacular header against Freiburg to make it 3 for Borussia Dortmund.

Since returning he used to preach one message

“The most important thing is not to think it [testicular cancer] can only happen to other people. I was one of them seven months ago. I was fit and I was doing well. In the space of three months the level I had of this tumour was really high.”

“We need to check. You cannot be ashamed. We are not checking only for ourselves but also for our family and friends and those around us. It can save a lot of lives.”


Haller’s journey to AFCON Final
Haller sustained an injury on December 19, which prevented him from featuring for Ivory Coast in their first three matches of the African Cup of Nations.

Ivory Coast secured just a win and lost twice in the group stages, including a heavy 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea. They sacked their coach Jean-Louis Gasset and appointed assistant coach Emerse Fae after a move for Hervé Renard fell through.

Ivory Coast then advanced to the round of 16 in the tournament when Zambia couldn’t achieve the necessary outcome to surpass the West Africans, who secured the position as the best third-placed team.

During the intense round of 16 match against defending champions Senegal, Haller was brought in during the latter stages of regular time, showcasing his physicality, ability to hold up the ball, and direct approach, which proved to be pivotal. His precisely placed through ball led to Nicolas Pepe being fouled, resulting in Ivory Coast scoring from the penalty spot to force extra time. Haller contributed further by scoring in the penalty shootout, helping Ivory Coast secure a 5-4 victory and eliminating the reigning champions.

In another exciting quarter-final match against Mali, Haller once more entered the game as a substitute – this time at halftime – as interim coach Emerse Fae took a risk with his team reduced to 10 players.

The Borussia Dortmund attacker came close to deciding the match in extra time with a header hitting the crossbar from a precise Wilfried Singo cross.

However, it was Oumar Diakite who scored the dramatic winning goal in the 122nd minute, leading to a semi-final encounter with DR Congo.

Haller earned his first start of the tournament in the semi-final showdown against DR Congo, and he left a significant mark with an unconventional goal midway through the second half at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.

Utilizing his height, Haller volleyed a long cross from Max-Alain Gradel, directing it into the ground, over DR Congo’s goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi, and narrowly under the crossbar in a ricochet-style finish, providing a euphoric moment for Ivory Coast fans as the tense stalemate in Abidjan was ultimately broken.

After falling behind for the third time in their fourth knockout match, the Elephants once again demonstrated resilience.

Franck Kessie leveled the score just after the hour mark, and Haller displayed exceptional skill by volleying Simon Adingra’s swift cross into the far corner of the Nigerian net to give the elephants a resounding victory over Nigeria — clinching the 2023 African Cup of Nations trophy with Sébastien Haller being the man of the moment.

Haller’s journey to Champions League Final 
Dortmund kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 loss against PSG and a scoreless draw against Milan at home. 

However, they bounced back to claim top spot in Group F before defeating PSV and Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively.

Haller’s goal at the Wanda Metropolitano ensured that Dortmund remained in the competition.

The 1997 Champions League champions then showcased a strong defensive performance in both legs of their semi-final against PSG, securing their first final appearance since 2013.

Dortmund will square off against Real Madrid at Wembley on June 1.

After series of setbacks, coming onto the pitch and clinching the prestigious AFCON trophy, Can Sébastien Haller seal the deal by winning the Champions League trophy to make his story a memorable one?


Story by: Gabriel Tecco Mensah |

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