The Guinean of Nantes, as a club – Coupe de France – The Guinean-Fontenay le Comte (0-5)

Friday September 29, 7:30 p.m., Dervallières sports complex in Nantes. Mouctar Keïta gathers his men for the start of the session. In less than 72 hours, The Guinean will write a beautiful page in its history by playing the fourth round of the Coupe de France, synonymous with the famous jerseys, against Fontenay-le-Comte, resident of National 3. Not bad for a club which has born barely a year ago and which still plays in D4, 7 divisions below their opponent. As the warm-up gets underway, Coach Mouctar returns to the genesis of the project, whistle and stopwatch around his neck: Before the official creation of the club, we already existed. We played for fun against other communities in the city. But I wanted to create a real club and be able to play competitive matches. It took quite a while, we had some struggles, but I’m really admiring the work we’ve done. »

In spring 2022, La Guinéenne officially becomes a club affiliated with the FFF. It was difficult at first. We very quickly had to have a full squad with players capable of performing a minimum. We have made sure that licenses are free for the first year. », specifies President Alseny Camara. Barely time to get into shape when Mouctar whistles the end of training. ” Already ? Why even? », Mustapha is indignant. The reason is simple, a recreational match will start any minute. “This land problem is eating away at us, it’s really annoying”concedes Mouctar, annoyed by the situation.

We had to make the lines with flour »

Field. This is La Guinéenne’s main problem for over a year. After several days of negotiations with the Nantes town hall, Alseny managed to obtain a slot for this Friday evening at the Dervallières complex. A luxury. Usually, the Syli Nantais are content with stabilized land in poor condition, located at the Plaine de Jeux de Sèvres, with only one slot per week. “It’s difficult, we really struggle to play on it. Every match, we have injuries, our players complain. These are not good conditions for playing. The town hall tells us that it does not have any other land available”, explains Coach Mouctar. Despite the numerous reminders, the letters sent to Mayor Johanna Rolland who “promised us to find solutions by setting up a technical commission on the subject”things are not moving forward. “We are not taken seriously and that hurts us. This lack of consideration even questions us about the future of the club”Alseny even concedes.

Club president Alseny Camara
Club president Alseny Camara

Proof of this lack of consideration during the previous round in the Coupe de France. If La Guinéenne managed to win against Doix AS des Quatre Vents, resident of D2, Mouctar’s gang could well have lost this match on the green carpet. “Friday, two days before the match, we were confirmed that the marking of the pitch had been done. We arrive on Sunday and find that the tracing is illegible. The opponents and the referee wanted us to cancel the match, we had to find a solution and so we made the lines with flour that a compatriot had to use to make pancakes., explains Alseny. Lunar. But the president does not want to give in: “There are certain opponents who offer us the chance to come and play on their facilities. I am categorical, I say no. Our problem on the ground must be a general demand. »

Human above all

Given that there are many young Guineans who have difficulty integrating into France, difficulties with papers, we said to ourselves that we could help these young people through football”, argues Youssouf Camara, the last rampart of La Guinéenne. Having passed through the Istres training center, friend of Fodé Mansaré with whom he joined France in the early 2000s and former Guinean international (a selection against Kenya in 2004 for qualifying for the 2006 World Cup), Youssouf established himself naturally as one of the big brothers of this team.

If on the (not so) green rectangle, the Elephants ensure, the most important thing remains the integration of brothers ». We try to explain to them what France is, the steps to take, because many like me have been here for several years. We are here for that “argues Alseny who specifies that “the team is also supported by the GALA (Association of Guineans of Loire-Atlantique, Editor’s note) which provides even greater help. » For Coach Mouctar, this is the most important: We try to ensure that each of our players is in a regular situation, at least seeking asylum. »

Coach Mouctar
Coach Mouctar

Mustapha is one of them. Arriving in France only a month ago, this fan of Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona gave up everything to make his dream come true: become a professional footballer and make a living from it. » The Guinean is helping me a lot with my integration and I hope to then succeed in reaching a big club. With the mind, everything is possible », says the 17-year-old winger, face tight and determined. For Mustapha, this Coupe de France match is precisely the opportunity to show off. » A raw and undeniable talent, but which should not skip step »tempers Cheick, 26 years his senior, who experienced a similar situation 25 years ago when leaving Guinea to join the prestigious FC Nantes. He’s an extremely talented kid, really. With his talent, he can go far, but for that, he has to listen to us older people. He just arrived a month ago and he hasn’t yet experienced the cold, going to training alone on the bus. He must be careful in particular about who he hangs out with. » The old man sitting always sees further than the young man standing.

Mustapha (in civilian clothes) came to support his teammates.
Mustapha (in civilian clothes) came to support his teammates.

“It’s already a victory”

“Mustapha cannot play”, says Mouctar, a bit sad. The young Guinean, who still came to support his friends, is devastated to be sidelined due to a license problem. It’s 1:30 p.m. at the Durantière stadium. The sun is out, as are good humor and bottles of bissap. Less than an hour and a half from kick-off, the Elephants are determined but above all approach this match against the Vendée ogre without pressure. We have nothing to lose. Our objective was to play the third round, we are in the fourth so it’s already very good », Captain Fana reassures himself. The main thing is elsewhere. “This match will shine a light on our team, regardless of the result. Playing against a National 3 can motivate some to join us”, recalls Fana. Some, understand everyone. Because La Guinéenne is not a community club even if for the moment the entire team is of Guinean origin. Our club is not community-based, we are ambitious and we are open to everyone »Alseny still specifies.

If at present, the club only has one senior team, the ambitions are great: We want to create a structure of a normal club, with its football school, one team per category, that’s the objective”, concludes the president. Despite a courageous performance, the Guinean finally lost 5-0 against superior Vendéens. But the main thing is elsewhere for Alseny: Having reached this round is already a victory. We are really proud of what we have achieved, despite the difficulties encountered over the past year. » The fight continues, as the other would say.

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By Tristan Pubert, in Nantes.

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