Interview – CHAN 2023 – Jean Louis Diouf: « We owed this qualification to local football »

One of the great architects of Senegal’s success against Guinea in qualifying for the African Nations Championship, Jean Louis Diouf confided in wiwsport, declaring that they have put all their strength into this project with the aim of to raise local Senegalese football as high as possible.


How did you experience qualifying?

It was clear to everyone from the start. The goal was to qualify for the next Chan. Senegal remained a long time without participating in this competition. It was unfair and Senegalese football did not deserve this. We made a lot of sacrifices to get there. We even passed the Tabaski in selection, you can imagine our determination. But also, we must also salute the commitment of our leaders who have spared no effort to put us in very good condition. The team was in Algeria, South Africa, Turkey just to do a good preparation.

The morning goal conceded by Senegal did not dampen your spirits, why?

No, this goal conceded could not make us panic. You know why ? Because we only saw the qualification. We were motivated enough to go up any score. After this goal, we did not give up, on the contrary the team was more ambitious.

Another prowess from Senegal on penalties, what explains this?

We have prepared in all aspects. It’s not just about shots on goal. You had to see us in action to understand, we were training like crazy. It was even hard to fall asleep after some workouts. We just reaped what we sowed. We never doubted. We have worked very hard to deserve this qualification, to further showcase our local football.

What did Aliou Cissé’s presence bring you?

What a positive really. Aliou Cissé is the best African coach of the moment, so his presence in the den can only bring good things. He gave a speech that galvanized us even more. Frankly, we were happy to see him. It was one more motivation.

What does this qualification represent?

Happiness and pride, we went 11 long years without competing in the African Nations Championship. So we can only be proud of this qualification. We dreamed of it as a youngster and today we accomplish it as a player and a great craftsman. But as I said before, we fought to raise the level of local Senegalese football. This was our main objective.

Will Jean play the next CHAN in Algeria where his dream is to find a club?

Laughs, we are in full reflection. We are waiting for the right proposals so that we can then make our choice. I think we have nothing more to prove in Senegal. I won almost everything individually and collectively. Now our goal is to find a good contract so that we can continue our dream away from home.

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