Tiemogo Promises ‘Explosive’ Football

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar February 3, 2019 01:27

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Tiemogo Promises ‘Explosive’ Football

By Satish Sekar in Niamey © Satish Sekar (February 2nd 2019)

Opening

This afternoon Niger opens its Under-20 AFCON – the 21st – against Thabo Senong’s South Africa at Niamey’s Stade General Seyni Kountché. Yesterday, Niger’s coach, Soumaïla Tiemogo outlined his hopes for the tournament and team.

“I am the Head Coach of Niger Under-20 team,” Tiemogo said.

“Our ambition in this competition is first to play a good competition. For us, the ambition is to qualify for the World Cup, the Under-20 World Cup, that will be played in May and June. “And after this, we have to do our best and why not? We are at home.

“We have the ambition to win the trophy.”

Hard Task

He knows that it will be hard to achieve – Niger has never won a trophy at this level, and he adeptly deflects the pressure.

“It’s an African competition,” he says. “There are eight countries – only eight countries in Africa that will play this competition, and there is qualification, o the 8 countries that qualified are not small teams.

“We have to respect all of the opponents, all the teams.

“It’s a competition for young players, so it’s not because it’s a country that is young in football that it will be in final or semi-final.

“It’s a competition for young players, so all countries have to play it at the end, we have to see who is the best.”

Ambitions

But do they have to win for it to be considered a success?

“We are at home, so the ambition is what I said, to qualify for the World Cup, but because we are at home, why not try to win the first trophy for Niger in African competition?” Tiemogo said.

But his ambitions are not just for his team in this tournament; there’s a bigger picture for Nigerien football.

“This competition is a big event for us,” Tiemogo explains.

“Niger never hosted this competition, so it will be the first time, and the first time that our national team played in this competition first, and playing at home will be explosive.

“May be the fact that our football will be biggest with this team, we played the Under-17 World Cup, but if we qualify for the World Cup, we will be sure to have a competitive team in two or three years in our senior national team.”

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar February 3, 2019 01:27