EXCLUSIVE | Iliman Ndiaye: ‘There is a lot of pride in representing Olympique de Marseille in Africa.’

Iliman Ndiaye (23) is preparing to represent Senegal in his first Africa Cup of Nations. He tells Get French Football News what it means to represent his boyhood club, Olympique de Marseille, in Africa. 

Marseille is very much your city. How have you handled your return?

Of course, there have been a lot of emotions over the past few months. Now they have come down a bit and I am more focused. The emotions were high. Obviously, it is a childhood dream to play for Marseille. Of course, I had played for them before, but playing in the stadium, in front of all the fans, was unbelievable. But now, I have had to put those emotions aside and really focus on my football in general in Marseille. I have been really focused, kept a smile on my face. I am more ready than ever. 

What does it mean to represent Senegal at your first AFCON?

Obviously, it means a lot to represent my country, Senegal. It is a dream that is coming true to play in the AFCON. I can’t wait to get started. There is a lot of pride in representing Olympique de Marseille in Africa because Marseille are really big in Africa. So to represent them for me is a very proud moment, and I can’t wait to get started. 

And Senegal will be one of the favourites…

We are going to come into it with the same intent and the same passion, I saw ‘we‘ as I’m part of the team now, even though I wasn’t in the same AFCON-winning team, but we’ll come in with the same intent and passion as the last AFCON. We, as a team, are a family, and when you’re a family, you help each other to perform to the best of your ability. I can’t wait to get there and get going. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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