Stenio Marie: A boat operator who is also captain of Seychelles

The Seychelles football team is currently in Sylhet to play two FIFA friendlies against Bangladesh. Stenio Marie, the captain of the team, is a tourist boat operator by profession. He makes his living by taking tourists to the sea for fishing, relaxing and barbecue parties. Marie shared the story of his unique life with Prothom Alo.

Seychelles football team captain Stenio MarieProthom Alo

Seychelles is a tiny country. It has an area of just 455 square kilometres and its population is around 100,000. Tourism is the main source of income in this island nation. Thousands of tourists go to Seychelles almost every day. The tourism business is quite lucrative. And Seychelles football team’s captain Stenio Marie is involved in this very business. His father too had the same occupation. He followed in on his father’s footsteps and formed a bond with the sea.

“Now, I’ve taken my father’s place. I do what he used to do. I have a tourist boat, I run it myself. I take the tourists to go fishing, to relax and to have barbecue parties. I more or less do this every day. Because every day new tourists come to visit Seychelles.”

Marie, one of the biggest names in the visiting Seychelles team, said this while sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Sylhet.

Stenio Marie is in Sylhet with the Seychelles national team
Prothom Alo

His tourist boat is 52 feet long and 15 feet wide. 21 tourists can sit on it at one time. Marie said there is no set daily earnings from the boat, it fluctuates, “There is no fixed amount. The earnings from a finishing trip and a barbecue trip is different. Suppose, from a day-long fishing trip would get me $ 1000. For day-long barbecue trips, I charge $ 700. But there are many other costs. I have a staff. When I’m on tour with the football team, he looks after the boat.”

I have loved football and played football ever since I was a kid. Football gives a different kind of joy. After I began working as a boat operator, I do my football training in the leisure time after returning from the sea. But I don’t get much time to play.
Stenio Marie, captain, Seychelles national football team

Marie, 30, lives right at the edge of the sea. It takes 8-10 minutes on foot to go to the beach from his residence. He spent his entire childhood and youth around the sea. After finishing school at the age of 17, he further strengthened his bond with the sea. He obtained the license to operate boats on sea at the age of 20. In the beginning, the tidal waves of the Indian Ocean scared him sometimes. But now, he has overcome those fears, “It rains a lot in the southern region of Seychelles. Sometimes you get caught in bad weather there. Not so much in the east. Overall, I don’t face many problems when I take my tourist boat into the sea.”

Marie has no gripe with his life as a tourist boat operator and is content, “Yes, it’s good. Everything is going well. You can say I’m doing quite well.”

Stenio Marie on his boat in Seychelles

He took up football despite being a boat operator, quickly rose up the ranks and became the national team captain as well. Marie told the story of how it all came to be, “I have loved football and played football ever since I was a kid. Football gives a different kind of joy. After I began working as a boat operator, I do my football training in the leisure time after returning from the sea. But I don’t get much time to play.”

Marie also compared the two parts of his life, playing football and taking tourists out to the sea, “I like both. I like doing both of them. But playing football is not my profession, operating my tourist boat is. Seychelles is a small country. Everyone has to work and it’s the same in my case.”

Players don’t earn by playing club football in Seychelles. The footballers have no contracts with the clubs. Bangladeshi footballers like Jamal Bhuiyan earn close to Tk 10 million from clubs, but Marie and his teammates earn nothing. But if they perform well in a competition, they earn some money as bonus, informed the Seychelles captain.

Seychelles captain Stenio Marie and Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan
Prothom Alo

Marie was also the captain of the Seychelles Under-20 team. In 2011, he got named in the national team. In the 11 years since then, he has played 57 games for Seychelles. He has been the captain of the national team for three years. He was the captain of Seychelles in their match against Bangladesh in the four-nation tournament in Colombo in 2021, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

He didn’t travel with the team to Bangladesh for the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in 2020. So, this is his first visit to Bangladesh, and Marie said he is enjoying his first stay. Marie is mainly a centre-back, but now he plays as a defensive midfielder, much like his Bangladesh counterpart Jamal.

Marie’s father and two of his brothers also played football. His 56-year-old father is now working in an Italian company. His mother is a staff at a hotel. He has three brothers. The eldest works at a hotel and the two younger brothers are still students. Marie is yet to marry and is not thinking about that at the moment. All he is thinking about right now is when he can fly back to his country from Sylhet and head back to the sea on his boat.

*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy