Football - Jonathan Pitroipa: "My new life since retirement".

Jonathan Pitroipa Burkina Faso
Football - Jonathan Pitroipa: "My new life since retirement".

After more than sixteen years at the highest level, Jonathan Pitroipa has called time on his football career on 26 February 2021. We spoke to the former Rennes, Paris FC, Royal Antwerp Football Club, Hamburg SV and Fribourg midfielder and Burkina Faso international.

Jonathan Pitroipa, you've been off the pitch for almost two years now. What are you up to?

Jonathan Pitroipa: I'm close to my family and my children. I've got a communications company, Shamar Empire (a music production and communications structure), so I'm working a bit more in that business and I'm still doing a bachelor's degree in sport and business. There are lots of things to do. It's a way of saying that after football you can easily integrate into normal life and be a good businessman.

You have continued your reconversion with PNP Sport Consulting Sarl. A company that organises matches. What does that entail?

Jonathan Pitroipa: PNP Sport Consulting Sarl is still there. It's true that we haven't always heard back from Burkina Faso's Ministry of Sport about the continuation of our contract with the Stallions.

Have you tried to understand things?

Yes, we've tried several times to get in touch with the Ministry of Sport to get more details, but it's still an ongoing issue. It's not our only objective, even if it was an opportunity to be alongside our young brothers and support them with our experience and put them in the right conditions. Today, even if the agreement doesn't go ahead, we're still continuing to work, especially as we have a FIFA match agent's licence. PNP is also working on other issues such as player management and asset management.

"How can we make the Burkina Faso championship more attractive?

What is your assessment of the championship in Burkina Faso?

We can do better because, when you look at it today, there is not too much progress in the organisation of the championship. I think we need to have the right people in strategic positions to bring their experience and vision to bear. What we need to do now is work on attracting players. The championship is not attractive. If we want to attract fans, we need to have a vision of what we really want to do.

What do you need to do to attract fans and sponsors?

First of all, if we want to attract sponsors, it has to be business football. You have to work on the organisation of a club. A sponsor who comes in expects in return an image that you're going to give him and what he's going to get in addition. It's difficult for a club in Burkina Faso to get a sponsor because people don't see what they're going to get in return as a sponsor. It's up to the Federation to manage this aspect so that each club can comply with its organisational policy. We also need to organise training courses to help those in charge understand that this is how a club is organised.

Talking about the national team, how do you feel about your young brothers?

Let's just say that we feel there's continuity because some players have stayed with the core. There's progress when you look at the team. But we feel we can do better, perform better than that. If we want to win the CAF (African Cup of Nations), we need to do more and have much clearer objectives.

The Stallions have already qualified for the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations with two days to go. Their next game will be against Cape Verde in Praia on 18 June. What do you think of Hubert Velud's list for that match?

I think it's fine. When you look at the list, there aren't too many changes. The backbone is still there. Issoufou Dayo, Steeve Yago.... with their experience, the younger players coming in, they'll know how to integrate them so that there's more cohesion.

What about the Cape Verde-Burkina Faso match?

We've got nothing to lose. We're currently top of the group. So we have to go out and conquer to prove that we're not going to let our first place slip away. As far as the coach is concerned, I think we have to try and see or take the risk of rotating the team. Involve the others too. That's also part of cohesion. If we use them, we'll know what they can contribute in concrete terms.

Among your goals for club and country, is there one that stands out the most?

I'd have to say my goal against Togo in the quarter-finals of the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. I'm never on the corners, I'm much more in the background. But that day, strangely enough, we had to win. We were in extra time, I'd just gone to make my presence felt and then I saw the ball coming, so I thought why not try it because, logically, I'm not very good at heading. So I gave it a go and that's what happened. I was very happy to have won the match and qualified for the semi-finals.

"President of the Federation, you never know?"

Will Jonathan Pitroipa be a candidate in the upcoming elections for the Burkina Faso Football Federation (FBF) in 2024?

It's not something I really have in mind. But you never know. For the moment, I'm concentrating on my career transition, even if we have to do everything we can to stay in football because we want to contribute our experience.

What do you think about the project to refurbish the Stade du 4 Août, which has been dragging on and on?

I think it's a shame. It's difficult to see the team play away from home, but as we say, the situation in our country means that everything is really complicated. We hope that this time it will be done in time so that we can have a stadium. We need this stadium to show that we are a footballing country.

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