EXCLUSIVE | ‘It wasn’t easy the first time either!’ – Marseille’s Ismaïla Sarr predicts difficult AFCON defence

Ismaïla Sarr (25), lifted by Olympique de Marseille’s return to form, heads off to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast, determined to defend the title, as he told Get French Football News.

Is there pressure due to Senegal’s previous win, or the opposite as you know how to win it?

I wouldn’t say that there is pressure. Everyone in Senegal wants us to win the AFCON again. We are going to go into it calm, collected and focused to try to win it a second time. 

Do you expect winning AFCON to be a more difficult task this time around?

Yeah, I must confess that it isn’t easy, but the first time wasn’t easy either! There are lots of teams like Morocco and the Ivory Coast that will want to win it as well, Algeria, Tunisia, and Cameroon as well. Everyone wants to win this AFCON. It won’t be easy, but we’re going there to do something. 

OM are hugely popular in Senegal. Is there pride in representing your club at AFCON too?

It is a source of pride and joy to represent OM in Africa because there are lots of Olympique de Marseille supporters in Africa. We are going to bring Marseille everywhere we go. I am very proud. 

Do the results OM give you confidence too?

I am happy for the team and for everyone. We are on a good winning run. We’ll try and continue that for the supporters as well. We have been expecting (a turnaround) for some time as well and we will be looking to keep it up. On a personal level, I feel good. We are a family, a team. I feel really great here.

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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