Discovering the actual Bafo’

Inform us a bit about your self, your childhood, your journey, you the Toulousain who got here to stay within the North…
(he smiles) As you stated, I’m from Toulouse. Apart from, you will not discover a purer Toulousain than me. I grew up in Mirail (a district situated within the southwest of the town). It was there that I began taking part in soccer, first with my associates, then in a membership from the age of 6. However mainly, I used to be not an enormous soccer fan, at the very least not in a membership. I did not essentially have an idol. Me, what I appreciated above all was taking part in with my associates in school, or moderately after faculty, at CLAE, a type of outside day-care centre, between 4 and 6 p.m. I beloved that soccer, with out a referee, with out a coach, with out guidelines. The crew that scored was certified and remained on the sector. What a sport, what enjoyable.

For you, is that the important thing? The pleasure of the ball above all?
Sure, clearly. Like everybody round me, I began taking part in on the metropolis. I used to be usually the “infant” who performed with the massive ones. That is the place you be taught the fundamentals, the place you’re employed in your approach, your precision, the place you progress in your decision-making in small areas. It’s important to know what you’re going to do with the ball earlier than you even obtain it. After which if you’re doing properly, the massive guys need you to play with them, so that you progress.

And membership soccer, in all this?
My massive brother signed me up. He performed on the TAC (Toulouse Athletic Membership), a superb neighborhood membership, with good educators. He took me with him, it was pure. At 12, I used to be noticed by Téfécé. However I used to be now not dwelling on the Mirail, I used to be in boarding faculty, in Boulogne-sur-Gesse, one hour from Toulouse. It was my CM2 mistress who proposed this faculty undertaking to my mom, to raised concentrate on faculty. As a result of if you develop up in working-class neighborhoods, you usually tend to change course. My mom accepted and I entered sixth grade there. So I now not skilled with my membership in the course of the week, however I performed the matches on the weekend. At college, all the pieces was going properly. So when the Téfécé proposed to my household that I combine the pre-training, in order that I alter school, initially she was not an excessive amount of for it. However the membership agreed to take me from the age of 12 (as an alternative of 13 normally). So I went there.

So right here you might be, a participant of Toulouse FC, the massive membership in your metropolis. Whenever you’re 12, how do you expertise this small notoriety in school, with associates?
(he thinks) Frankly, I used to be dealing with it fairly properly. I already had associates who had been taking part in at Téfécé for a yr or two, so it wasn’t tough for me to slot in. It is true that if you’re younger, it is one thing to be recruited and play for an expert membership. We’re completely satisfied, we’re proud, nevertheless it should stay discreet. For instance, within the school the place we had been, we weren’t actually allowed to come back with membership garments, in order to not make anybody envious. We all know that many youngsters wish to be in our footwear. It’s important to hold your head in your shoulders.

On December 5, 2018, you had been 17 if you began in Ligue 1 (towards Reims). Once more, you are undoubtedly going to inform me that it’s important to hold your head in your shoulders…
(he is fed up) Like everybody else, I lived my first match with slightly stress, it is regular. However the interval was tough for the membership (Toulouse was then fifteenth in L1, 2 factors from the pink zone). The coach (Alain Casanova) took it away from me. He talked to me, instructed me that I used to be going to start out the sport and that I should not put any stress on myself, that I did not need to be the hero of the crew, that I simply needed to present what I confirmed in coaching. So I made my match, all the pieces went properly, we even received (0-1) whereas we remained on 12 video games with out a win.

Bafo ‘, solely 17 years outdated, is launched within the grain bain of Ligue 1 in 2018

And on your third look in Ligue 1, on December 22, 2018, you come into play towards LOSC, right here in Lille, for the final minutes of a match which you win (1-2) towards a Lille crew who will end second from PSG a number of months later…
I bear in mind it very properly. After the match, within the Pierre Mauroy Stadium locker room, I threw myself into the bathtub which is situated within the locker room. I see myself diving in it. On their lonesome (he is fed up). I used to be younger, it was my first victory towards a “massive man” in Ligue 1, it marked me.

You aren’t taking part in the return match, however the next season, this time you begin for the reception of LOSC on the Stadium. And once more you win (2-1, 10/19/19). Undoubtedly, your future membership was going properly for you…
Sure (smile) I simply thought of it just lately. I even imagine that I’ve 100% of victories towards LOSC, proper?

Effectively think about that… No. On the return, LOSC received 3-0 at house (02/22/20). And also you had been on the garden that evening (wink).
Oh sure, it’s doable. I rapidly erased it from my reminiscence that one (He’s laughing).

The Pierre Mauroy Stadium? He has already received there, but additionally misplaced towards LOSC.

On the finish of that season, which had been interrupted on account of Covid-19, Téfécé was sadly relegated to Ligue 2. Did you’re feeling a type of injustice in taking place with out having been capable of go to the top of the championship?
Sure and no. After all it is painful to go down. For the gamers, for the followers, for everybody. However the truth of getting skilled this relegation after the pretty late determination to cease the championship made the information much less laborious to take, I feel. If it had been a descent on the pitch, ending the season, I feel it will have been much more tough. For example that there, we had time to see issues coming over the weeks. We had been ready for information from the Authorities and someday, it occurred.

You had been then 19 years outdated, 25 Ligue 1 video games within the legs and a superb rising popularity. You may have left for an additional elite membership. However you determined to remain at Téfécé, in Ligue 2. Why?
For me, the place of Téfécé is in Ligue 1. I’m from Toulouse, I’m a baby of the membership, I had years of contract left. So in my head, it was clear, I wished to return upstairs, in order that within the occasion of a later departure, I may depart figuring out that I had carried out issues properly.

On September 17, he discovered his former companions with the LOSC jersey on his shoulders, for a victory (2-1) in the important thing.

You then uncover Ligue 2. The primary season (2020-2021), you miss the rise on the wire (defeat on the Barrages towards Nantes), then you definately go up the subsequent one (2021-2022). How is that this championship completely different from Ligue 1?
It isn’t the identical soccer in any respect. I might even say that in some points, it is extra difficult in Ligue 2. For instance, most groups will press everywhere in the pitch, whereas in Ligue 1, the urgent is simply concentrated in sure very particular areas. So you have got much less time in L2 than in L1 when you have got the ball. I am unsure {that a} good participant in Ligue 1 would essentially reach Ligue 2.

As you had deliberate, you left Toulouse via the entrance door, on a return to Ligue 1 final summer time. What did you’re feeling?
For me, in my head, I inform myself that I left on the proper time. Téfécé returns to Ligue 1, as an alternative and I participated on this epic. I knew all the pieces on the membership, the academy, Ligue 1, relegation and I am going for a Ligue 2 title. I could not do higher.

First Northern Derby and… First victory.

So that you skilled your first switch, but additionally the departure from the household house to go and stay on the different finish of France. How did you expertise it?
I used to be initially disoriented as a result of I did not know the Lille area in any respect. Afterwards, we keep in the identical nation, in the identical championship, with the identical language. However it’s essentially completely different. In Toulouse, I knew some gamers from my years on the academy. Right here, I had solely met Momo Bayo and Lucas Chevalier, in Ligue 2 or in choice. Every thing went properly, I used to be completely built-in. Individuals are very nice. I used to be additionally stunned. Within the south, once we speak concerning the north, we’ve the picture of Paris, on the moderately chilly aspect. However if you get right here, you understand it has nothing to do with it. It isn’t a cliché, the individuals of the North are actually welcoming.

On the pitch, how do you’re feeling in your new crew?
Very properly too. I attempt to ensure to be helpful to the crew, to assist it. We all know the Membership’s expectations. If you find yourself a footballer, you all the time have this need to win, to purpose excessive. Right here, there’s this purpose shared by everybody to play on the prime of the desk. We really feel numerous need within the group, everybody desires to point out the most effective of themselves. The extent is excessive and that is good for the competitors, it pushes everybody to carry out.

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