Why are you no longer the coach of Mauritania?
There were no particular reasons … When a coach is sacked, we are talking about results. Concerning me, we remained on three defeats and one draw (in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup). The decision-makers felt that this was not enough despite a year 2021 with a qualification for the CAN and the Arab Cup …
Was it the goal to qualify for the 2022 World Cup?
We always want to win everything. After, being a minimum realistic, Mauritania in the World Cup, for me, it is a utopia today.
Did you feel at the end of the adventure or did you still see yourself lasting?
I wasn’t out of breath at all. We had a bad match against Tunisia last Thursday (3-0 loss). But we reacted very well by drawing a draw against the Tunisians (0-0). The team had shown another face …
Will it be a regret not to be able to participate in your second CAN, while you helped qualify the team?
Automatically… There is a feeling of unfinished business somewhere. I am not particularly bitter and bitter. It is a choice that has been made and I am moving on.
Before your arrival, Mauritania was 137th in the FIFA rankings and had never known a great competition. Now, she is 104th and participated in CAN 2019 and will participate in that of 2022. Is it mission successful?
Yes completely, especially after the first qualifying for CAN which was the major objective. We managed to confirm during the next edition… During my seven years in Mauritania, we obtained the best world ranking of the selection (82nd).
Qualifying for CAN 2019, will that be your fondest memory?
Yes because it was a first. Then, we saw the pride and happiness that we brought to the Mauritanian people. It was one, if not the most beautiful sporting emotion of my career. It was great to see people of a certain age cry, thank me because, with this qualification, we had been able to bring together all Mauritanians, sixty years after independence. These are strong words …
You had a group without a big name, how did you approach it, with what methods?
Of course, trying to make them progress in all areas. The success has been at the level of self-confidence. The first few months, what I could read in the eyes of the players before each match, it was a fear, a fear, it was “how much we were going to lose? “. By dint of winning matches and improving them, we approached the match to win. There was a good relationship between the players and me. So much so that they were surprised at the decision when I told them at the hotel after the game. The players didn’t want to leave the restaurant…
Did this experience make you evolve as a coach?
That’s what I told the players: we grew up together. Seven years is huge. With this group, high goals, without a star, without a player who plays in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2, have been met. I think I got the most out of the group. And I think the players may not be given due recognition.
On a human level too?
If I had to remember anything, it’s a great human adventure. I will not find the same relationship that I have had with all the players in the future. I hope so, but I’m pretty sure.
Now do you want to quickly find a bench or take a break?
I don’t feel tired, I want to continue depending on the opportunities that arise. I haven’t decided if it’s as a coach or in a club …
Why not again in Africa?
I am not against a new experience in Africa, it will depend on the opportunities and the projects.