AFCON 2023: Facinet Conté is the surprise pick of Kaba Diawara

AFCON 2023: Facinet Conté is the surprise pick of Kaba Diawara

Facinet Conté, an 18-year-old striker for Sporting Club de Bastia and one of the revelations of the French Ligue 2, has been selected by Kaba Diawara for the AFCON 2023 in Côte d'Ivoire. We take a look back at a young player whose path has been strewn with pitfalls.

It's August 26, 2023, and Sporting Club de Bastia is trailing Estac Troyes 2-1. In the 65th minute, a young player from Guinea made his first appearance in Ligue 2. As if in a fairy tale, he was to be the club's savior on this day. Between the 70th and 80th minutes, Facinet Conté scored twice to give Sporting Club de Bastia a 3-2 win. A successful baptism of fire. And the young player was to continue in the same vein. In his first 8 matches in Ligue 2, Facinet Conté scored 5 goals. These statistics were to attract so much attention that he became one of the revelations of the year in French Ligue 2. Issiaga Bangoura, founder of the SiakFoot Academy, where the youngster settled at the age of eight, is ecstatic. "It's an indescribable satisfaction. Seeing one of our players do so well only makes us proud. And it spurs us on to go all the way and work hard," says the trainer.


Orphaned and adopted by a Moroccan

Not everything was rosy in Facinet Conté's life, however. Orphaned from both parents at an early age, he was raised by one of his uncles. An unexpected encounter was to change the young boy's destiny. During a detection tournament organized in Conakry, Facinet Conté caught the eye of Abdelmadjid Bouanane, a Moroccan airplane pilot. Things were about to accelerate for the young man. Issiaga Bangoura, his trainer and mentor, looks back on this episode."That meeting with Abdelmajid Bouanane, an Air France captain, was the turning point. He had come to follow a detection match and it only took half a minute for Facinet to convince him. Then he came to meet us with his family to recruit the player. We didn't object. Because it was in the player's best interest," recalls the founder of the SiakFoot Academy, where the youngster was trained.

This encounter was to change the young boy's life. From there, things accelerated for Facinet Conté. "Being fatherless and motherless, A. Bouanane will start an adoption procedure for the young boy. And thanks to the involvement of all of us, he will adopt the boy who was going through a difficult period", reveals Issiaga Bangoura. The process is underway. The administrative formalities were completed, and at the age of 15 and a half, Facinet Conté was adopted by Abdelmadjid Bouanane, who sent him to Morocco. The youngster, still a minor, settled there and continued his training, which would later lead him to Sporting Club de Bastia (Ligue 2, France).

The Guinean Ligue 1 as a springboard
Facinet Conté caught the eye of a number of clubs, including Sporting Club de Bastia, during a scouting tournament held in Marrakech (Morocco). Still a minor, he was unable to join the Corsican club. In September 2022, the young prodigy arrived at Bastia and signed his first license the following month. Unable to play with the professionals because of his status, he returned to Guinea to gain experience. In January 2023, he signed a six-month contract with Flamme Olympique, a Guinean Ligue 1 club.


"When he returned, he played for Flamme Olympique.
That gave him a chance to sharpen up. The six months he spent in the Guinean league enabled him to toughen up and maintain his rhythm. This return to his homeland has enabled him to progress in a familiar environment," explains Issiaga Bangoura. In June 2023, six months after leaving Corsica, he made his comeback. Having reached the age of majority, he joined the professional squad and took part in all the club's pre-season preparations. His baptism of fire in Ligue 2 came on August 26, 2023, when he scored twice to give his side a 3-2 win over ESTAC Troyes.

Issiaga Bangoura is full of praise. "Facinet is a source of pride. Passing all his milestones is already a sign that he's mentally strong. His life is a struggle, and so far he's doing pretty well. So this double in his first match, which enabled Bastia to win, is the fruit of many years of sacrifice. We at the academy can only be delighted," remarks academy president SiakFoot.

With 5 goals in 12 Ligue 2 matches, Facinet Conté has been rewarded for his promising start to the season. So much so, in fact, that he was one of the surprises on Kaba Diawara's 25-man shortlist for the AFCON 2023. The young striker from Sporting Club de Bastia, whose career is accelerating week by week, now has another opportunity to shine and break new ground, as he has done since the start of his young career.

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