Ligue 1: Issiaga Sylla, the discreet taulier of the TFC


the essential
Arrived at the club in 2012, the Guinean defender played his 200th match in purple on Sunday 2 October. A longevity that contrasts with the reserved character of the last great representative of the Sadran era.

Issiaga Sylla is a mystery. Rarely sent to a press conference, discreet in the interview area on match days, his words are exceptional. Like his status. Sunday against Montpellier, the 28-year-old side played his 200th meeting in all competitions with the TFC, consolidating his place in the top 10 of the club’s most capped players.

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If he were to play all the championship matches by the end of the season, he would even overtake Laurent Batlles, Albin Ebondo, Nicolas Dieuze, Moussa Sissoko, Achille Émana and Daniel Congré. Only Etienne Didot, Pantxi Sirieix and Dominique Arribagé would remain in front of him, sitting at the top of the pyramid with his 270 appearances in the Téféciste jersey. That puts you a man.

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Since his arrival in 2012 from AC Horoya in Guinea, Sylla has not known everything in Toulouse, but almost. From a first tenure on May 4, 2013 for a 4-2 victory against Lille until October 2, 2022, passing through the descent then the ascent, the left-hander who has expanded his experience on loan to Gazélec Ajaccio (2015- 2016) and at RC Lens (2020-2021) saw the Tef mutate. « I’ve been here for quite a while, » he smiled. It’s my first club in France, it’s really close to my heart. This 200th game touched me a lot. »

“My role is to put young people on the right path”

Despite his longevity, however, Issiaga Sylla does not seem to have the aura of Didot, Sirieix and other Dieuze, undoubtedly much more leaders in the soul than the Guinean. « I speak especially to young people who have just started », he says to sum up his role in the locker room. “It’s super important to frame them, to put them on the right path. »

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His own path has often seemed to lead him far from Toulouse. Sea serpent of the last transfer window periods, his departure never materialized. In 2021, Lens had decided not to exercise the purchase option attached to his loan, and Sylla had again returned to the TFC, where he always ended up establishing himself as one of the safe bets in the workforce. And if some of the supporters like to target him, the Guinean international (69 caps, 3 goals) is capable of brilliant responses, like this Sunday when he appeared in very good shape on the Stadium lawn. “The team is gaining momentum: in everything we are currently doing, we are seeing progress,” notes the person concerned, who prefers to talk about the collective situation.

End of contract in June 2023

Like many locker room executives, Issiaga Sylla will be out of contract at the end of the season. “I still have a few months left, for the moment, I don’t think about the rest. My objective is to keep the club in Ligue 1.”
Next summer will again raise the question of the future of a player with a substantial salary, the last dinosaur of the Sadran years. After 10 seasons in purple, it may be time to leave for the TFC manager, who will have entered the club’s history a little more by then.

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