After more than a seven-month hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Total CAF Confederation Cup 2019/20 will resume in the coming days with a Final Four format taking place in Morocco.
Guinea champions Horoya will challenge Egyptian debutants Pyramids in a much anticipated encounter on Tuesday, 20 October 2020, in Casablanca. Ahead of the match, Horoya coach Lamine N’Diaye spoke to CAFOnline.com regarding his side’s preparations, interrupted by the departure of veteran striker Aristide Bance, who called time on his playing career few months ago.
CAFOnline.com: Finally, football is back after a long absence because of COVID-19. What are your thoughts?
Lamine N’Diaye: It has been very complicated during this pandemic. At the start, we stayed three months without training because everyone was confined, and we didn't have the right to go out. Once we received the green light from health authorities, we drew up a training program for the players to monitor their progress. Later, we resumed group training but we couldn't go to the pitch, until the authorities gave us the go ahead. Ever since, we’ve been training on daily basis, without no preparatory game because teams back home in Guinea are on a break.
What is the current situation of your team?
We regret a few injuries during the preparations. Kyei Baffour, Boubacar Samassékou are injured and Alseny Camara underwent an operation. These are key players that we will miss. However, Mandela Ocancey is available. We are training weekly and organise matches amongst us.
Horoya face Pyramids in the semis the next couple of days. What has been the motivating factor for your campaign this term?
The credit goes to the players and the officials. The players did what was necessary to achieve these good results, and the technical team guided the playing body daily to ensure that they were in the best conditions. We just had to readjust and bring a little more rigour. To achieve results there is an element of luck to complete the success story. It is all these ingredients together that makes the team perform well.
Horoya has a history of nightmares against teams from North Africa. How did you manage find an antidote to that?
I was not around in the past so I don’t know how it worked. Now, there is may more rigour and desire that make things work. These ingredients help in making good results.
Aristide Bance won't be a part of your trip to Morocco. How did you take news of his unavailability?
Bance's withdrawal was imminent because he had a knee injury. Between games he had take painkilling injections to be able to play. He is a strong man. I tried to keep him even if he could not play, because just his presence meant a lot to these young players who have no experience. It’s a shame that he did not finish the campaign with us. There is also another fact, that his brother (Lazare Bance) was recently elected president of the Burkina Faso Football Federation, and he wanted Aristide to play an important role in his team. I think that also tempted him to leave.
What solutions do you have to make up for his departure?
We must get those who are around and fit to play. As we always did even when Bance was here, he did not play every game because his knee problems did not allow him. We have to deal with those who are here and available to play.