Adingra, Diakité – new Ivorian wave

Adingra, Diakité – new Ivorian wave

Ouma Diakité

 Carefree, innovative, ambi­tious and above all, full of talent. Simon Adingra and Ouma Diakité represent the next generation of Ivorian football.

Aged 22 and 20 respectively, the two young men experienced winding paths before being the protagonists of the Elephants’ qualification for the semi-final of the To­talEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Standing at 1.75 meters tall, Simon Adingra had a dif­ficult journey before becoming a footballer.

“I’ve had some diffi­cult times, and that has shaped my character. I remember the day an “agent” came to my house because he wanted to recruit me to go to an academy in Benin. With nine other boys, we went to this country except that the academy in question did not exist. The crook left with our money, and we found ourselves on the street. I had to take on odd jobs to meet my needs” he says.

“When I think of everything I have ex­perienced, I must give the best of myself, for my country, my family, especially to honour my father who is no longer with us and who has always encouraged us to go this direction,” he explains.

Entering the game in the 86th minute against Mali, the right winger conditioned himself to be decisive and alert.

“I told myself that I was go­ing to have an opportunity and that it was up to me to seize it. And yes I am lucky. I can tell you that it was, as an individual, one of my biggest emotions as a footballer. My heart was beat­ing a thousand miles an hour,” admitted Adingra.

Another rising star is of course Oumar Diakité. Like Adingra, number 14 of the Elephants came into play during the second period of the match against the Eagles.

Active on the left flank, the native of Bingerville wasted no time in getting noticed. First by receiving a yellow card then by scoring the winning goal on a play initiated by Simon Adingra, before being unfortunately sent off.

“My joy was so great that I forgot that I had a yellow card, my mis­take. I couldn’t play the half, but I don’t think it will hurt my team because we have the depth, and even if I’m not there, we’ll be able to do the job,” said Diakité.

To be the Cote d’Ivoire hero, Diakité imagined it for a long time and even dreamt of it.

“It’s an inexplicable feeling. During my train­ing at ASEC, I began training as an engi­neer. Even though I was thriving in football, I needed to secure my life in a certain way because everything moves very quickly in this world.” —

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