Soumahoro Bangaly could be running out for Guinea at AFCON. Photo:cMuzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Soumahoro Bangaly is considering representing Guinea so that he can play in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) with chances of breaking into the star-studded Ivory Coast slim.

Last month the towering Ivoirian said one of his targets this year is to break into the Elephants set-up to get his first cap and be a part of the team that will play in the Afcon in Cameroon next year should they qualify.

Bangaly wasn’t oblivious of what it would take to achieve that objective with most of the Elephants’ players plying their trade in Europe. The 26-year-old argued that for him to even be considered, he has to win everything on offer with Mamelodi Sundowns and play at the highest level  the Caf Champions League.

He has won a lot of trophies with the Brazilians, including the 2016 Champions League, but the call up from the country of his birth hasn’t come, which is why he is considering the offer to play for the country of his mother’s birth. Should he accept the offer, he could come up against the Elephants on November 16 as Guinea and Ivory Coast are in the same group in the 2019 Afcon qualifiers.

“It’s good (that Guinea wants me to play for them),” Bangaly said. “You have too many players in the world. If one national team wants you, you say thank God because it is a blessing. But you have to go step-by-step. You can’t jump the first step and then just say yes I want to come. Yes, it’s good that they want me. I want to come here (too). But you must do things step by step. I know the national team coach (Paul Put) from the days he was coaching Burkina Faso. (Aristide) Bance also wanted me to play for Burkina Faso and the coach was watching me. He has been monitoring me for a long time.”

Bangaly was officially approached by Guinea on his trip to Conakry with the Brazilians. The Ivoirian will return to South Africa with an offer to play for Guinea while Sundowns will return with a point after they played to a 2-2 draw with Horoya at Stade 28 Septembre in Conakry on Tuesday in the group stage of the Champions League. The Brazilians have collected just two points from their first two matches, which sees them lie in third place in Group C behind Wydad Casablanca and Horoya. Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane, who pushes his players to play for their national teams, gave Bangaly his blessings to play for Guinea.

“Somebody approached him to play for Guinea before the match (against Horoya),” Mosimane said. “I was a little bit worried that if he knew before the game, it might affect his game. And it did affect his game. He didn’t play exactly the way he always plays. He is a better player (than what we saw). He was a little bit nervous because of this. He wanted to impress, and he didn’t play his normal football. If he wants to play for Guinea, I give him the green light.”

Even though Bangaly didn’t have his best game, he was a hit in Guinea’s capital city with a number of fans chanting his name in a homecoming of some sort.

“I was surprised (to get this much love) because the last time I was here, I was very young,” Bangaly said. “I came here with my mother. I was surprised to hear a lot of people calling my name. I am thankful for the love they showed me. My mother is from here and my big brother stays and works this side.”


The Star

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter