Interview ... Konan Clomandé Ghislain (defender of Vitoria Guimarães of Portugal) :

“I have received good training at the Beni Academy”

Konan Clomandé Ghislain, the member of Vitoria Guimarães of Portugal, trained at the Académie Beni, was recently called in national selection of the elephants of Côte d’ivoire. On the occasion of a holy passage on the ground last Saturday, he wanted to tell us about his young career and his sporting ambitions. Interview!


-You are evolving in Victoria Guimarães, Portugal. You enjoy your stay in Abidjan to visit Blessed Sol. How do you feel about coming back to this setting where you were trained?


-I am very happy to find myself here on blessed ground where I was trained for four years. It was here at the Académie Beni that I learned the profession of footballer and where I learned to become a man.


-What values have you received in this center and which have allowed you to impose yourself in your club in Portugal?


-I was fortunate to have two good trainers at the Beni Academy. The first is Walter AMMANN who allowed me to refine my tactical culture and my technique of ball control, dribbling, shooting, my head play, etc. The second is Julien CHEVALIER. He taught me the spirit and the desire to succeed.


-How was your integration in the club of Vitoria Guimarães that finished 4th in the last Portuguese championship?


-I am really happy to have succeeded in my integration in this club. I landed there on January 27th, 2016. My beginnings have been very difficult. I have had difficulty adapting because of the environment and the cold. But my strong training at the Beni Academy helped me a lot. I had to be very strong mentally. I even went next to my first game with the B team in Vitoria Guimarães. I had made two big mistakes that had cost us two goals. But that did not discourage me. The next day I gave myself to the bottom and I had the same behavior during all the workouts that followed. Despite this, I made months without playing, not because I was not good. But because my coaches wanted to give me time to succeed in my adaptation. When they then stretched my perch, I knew how to seize it. I was promoted from Team B to Team A.
-How did you manage to hang on?

-I admit that my coaches have supported me a lot. They encouraged me. They gave me advice asking me to believe in me because I have a lot of qualities. I regained confidence in telling myself that I could not be bad because I come from the Beni Academy where, for four years, I had followed a full-bodied formation made of tactics, technique, fighting spirit and strengthening the mind. So I couldn’t fail at the high level. I believed in myself and managed to hang on. It ended up paying. In the middle of the season, I moved from Team B to the team A of Vitoria Guimarães, within which I became a holder.

-Your performance has not gone unnoticed since you have just been called in national team has on the occasion of the last friendly match of the elephants against the Oranje of the Netherlands. What happens in the head when good things succeed in our lives as it does for you?

-I didn’t expect that at all. One day I was in the locker room when the vice president of Vitoria Guimarães came to tell me that I am selected as a national team. I immediately thought of the U23 of the elephants. He looked at me for a while and said, “You are called a national team from Ivory Coast.” That’s when I realized what was happening to me. I pushed a cry of joy and I sank tears. My dream was realized. At the Beni Academy, I told my teammates that I would one day wear the elephants a shirt. But I didn’t expect to live this now.

-What are your objectives with the elephants?

-First, it is not to leave the group. Second, it is to work a lot to be part of the national eleven and finally third is to stay there as long as possible.

-What are your personal ambitions?

-It’s becoming a great player. But it will depend on God and my hard work.

-Who is your idol?

-It’s Marcelo from Real Madrid. My friends call me Marcelo. I’m a supporter of Chelsea FC. But it was thanks to Marcelo, my idol, that I learned to love and support Real Madrid. I don’t know what my sports career will be. But I wish it would lead me to Real Madrid where I would like to evolve one day.

-The ASEC Mimosas gave you the opportunity to dream. You are here today in Portugal. Are you aware that you are experiencing a great journey?

-I am aware of that. But I think that even if I have to pray that God will allow me to succeed in a brilliant career, I also have to work a lot as I said before and show humility. We were told at the Académie Beni: “Stay humble if you want to become great someday”. I have never forgotten this beautiful thought. Kle Weuly Mathias, the steward of the Académie Beni, told us that it takes a lot of luck to succeed in life and especially in football. When I see my course, I think I’ve had a lot of luck so far. I wish it would continue. I’m 21 years old. But when I play, my teammates tell me that my performances are like those of an experienced football player of 25-26 years. I find that flattering and encouraging.

-What memories do you keep from the ASEC Mimosas?

-I keep great memories of my visit to the Beni Academy and especially of our first victory at the international Tournament of the District of Abidjan (Tida) that we won in the finals against FC Barcelona. I keep fond memories of my two trainers Walter Ammann and Julien Chevalier and the teachings they gave us. I will never forget also the matches I played with the professional team of the ASEC Mimosas.

-What advice can you give to your cadets at the Académie Beni?

-When I was in class, at the ASEC Mimosas Training Centre, when professional footballers from the first generations of the Beni Academy came back to visit us, they told us to work very hard to give us the chance to succeed in a brilliant football career. I’ll tell my cadets that there will always be difficult times when they can fall. But the strength of a man is to be able to rise up after a fall. And to have this strength to rise up, we will have to look from where we come to work hard and succeed in the way that one has chosen.