Casa Sports travel to Bouaké (Côte d'Ivoire) for the second leg of their CAF Cup preliminary match against EFO of Burkina Faso. The Ziguinchor-based club will be able to count on their new prodigy Jean Koté Gomis, who scored the only goal in the first leg (1-1). Aged just 17, the diminutive striker has enjoyed a meteoric rise since the departure last season of the club's best player, Gambian Lamin Jarju.
Jean Koté Gomis (left), Casa Sports' new wonderkid.
Casa Sports were quick to secure a new weapon for their attack following the loss of Lamin Jarju, transferred to Hilal d'Omdurman.The Ziguinchor club didn't go far to find a replacement for the Senegalese Ligue 1's best player of the 2021-2022 season. His name is Jean Koté Gomis. At 1.70m tall, this powerhouse has already put the league's 13 other defences to the sword in his first season in the top flight.
No one escapes his destiny
Little Jean Gomis didn't have his path all mapped out, and could even have given up along the way. After attending soccer schools in the capital Dakar and Ziguinchor with the renowned coach "Briguel", Jean Koté Gomis got his first taste of the excitement of the Navétanes (Senegal's popular neighborhood championship) with the Lyndiane cadets.At the age of 15, he played the following summer with the senior team of ASC Espoir de Lyndiane, before exploding onto the scene in Ziguinchor with the senior team of ASCABS.In 2022, when he arrived at Casa Sports at the age of 16, the junior categories had already completed their detections. Nevertheless, he was invited to train with the U17 squad, where he impressed during friendly matches. Discouraged at not being included in Casa Sports' 25-strong cadet squad, Jean Koté Gomis was on the verge of calling it a day. It was assistant coach Aliou Sambou who pushed him to hang on, reminding him of the immense potential he had seen in him.
During the friendlies, he completely blew us away with his talent," confides Coach Aliou Sambou. I went to discuss his case with "Ziné", the head coach of the U17s. Together, we talked about the immense talent of Jean Koté Gomis and I invited him to insist on the kid. We were blocked by the fact that we'd finished putting together the performance group, and the licensing window was closed. So we started to give him even more playing time during the test matches," explained Aliou Sambou, contacted by telephone by SNA.
He agreed to stay on, with no guarantee of playing a single official match that season. He shone in friendly matches. Ironically, these performances coincided with the mid-season registration period for new players. His file was then submitted, and here he was, a full-fledged player with Casa Sports' U.17 team. He proved decisive in the Ziguinchor regional championship and the Senegal Cadet Cup. He is called up by Serigne Saliou Dia to join the U17 national team in training for the UFOA tournament and the AFCON.
Early landing with the senior team
Jean Koté Gomis, who had an outstanding half-season with the Casa Sports youth team, won't be spending his final year with the U17s. He won't even be upgraded to the U20s.His potential sends him straight to the doors of the first team of the reigning Senegalese champions. He and striker Kéba Coly were the U17 team's best players of the 2021-2022 season. The following season, he was invited to take part in a number of friendly matches with the Casa Sports senior reserve team.He impressed during these two matches and was retained in the first team.
"I'm lucky enough to have a certain affinity with coach Ansou Diadhiou. I suggested he should be given a chance because he was the ideal player to replace Lamine Jarju on the flanks. Jean is an intelligent, hard-hitting, fast player who's very comfortable on the ball.Little by little, he's starting to insist on Jean by giving him minutes in friendly matches," revealed Coach Aliou Sambou, also a video analyst for Casa Sports. Jean Gomis was immediately at ease in the squad, which was coming off the back of a historic double success in the Senegalese Cup and Championship.
"He's a daring kid who doesn't shy away from a challenge. He impressed us all the first time we invited him, even the other players. Everyone embraced him because they understood that he had so many qualities. That's why I brought him into the first team.When he arrived, he never thought that so-and-so had been there before him, he didn't have any complexes," admitted coach Ansou Diadhiou to Sport News Africa.
A diamond to be carefully polished this season
His state of mind is the ideal ingredient that has enabled this dribbling madman to express his talent despite the physical deficit. He took advantage of an injury to one of his attackers to play his first league match. He hasn't been out of the pro squad since."He quickly made the transition from substitute to starter, and by the end of the season was a team leader at the age of 17. He's a very strong kid mentally. He's not afraid of taking on responsibility or taking the initiative in the game. He's small, but he's an ace when it comes to using his body in front of giants. Today, he's growing up," explains Aliou Sambou.
His insouciance will be his main strength for this new season with the senior team of Casa Sports.His coach Ansou Diadhiou has opted to protect him despite the high expectations of the fans."He'll have the same role as last season.At his age, we mustn't put any more pressure on him," he says.Let him continue to play freely. He'll be our 2nd or 3rd option in attack. That's what will enable him to surprise his opponents. We run the risk of burning him out by asking him to carry the team at his age".
In recent years, Casa Sports has succeeded in bringing out immense talent. This know-how has led to the emergence of Stéphane Badji, Nicolas Jackson and Lamine Jarju, among others... A brilliant talent scout, Coach Ansou predicts a bright future for his new nugget. Provided they respect certain basic principles."It's difficult to make predictions about the future, but I can see him going far with his qualities.If he continues on this path, he could be a future Sadio Mané or Nicolas Jackson. The only fear I have is whether or not he'll keep the same commitment, attitude and discipline... He needs to keep his head on his shoulders," he added.