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Football - Senegal: Souleymane Basse, the left-back with his sights set high

Souleymane Basse Valenciennes
Football - Senegal: Souleymane Basse, the left-back with his sights set high

Lying bottom of Ligue 2, Valenciennes are nevertheless shining brightly in the Coupe de France, where they are vying for a place in the final this Tuesday evening at Lyon's Groupama Stadium (18:45 GMT). Senegalese Souleymane Basse, who arrived at the club from Génération Foot at the end of the summer, is one of Valenciennes' compasses in this competition.

Last night at Lyon's Groupama Stadium, OL and Valenciennes  battled it out to put a smile on their fans' faces. In the league, they have rarely been so happy this season. Both teams have had a catastrophic year. While Lyon have been on the up since the arrival of Pierre Sage, Valenciennes have not taken off. However, in between gloomy, grey weekends, both clubs have enjoyed a few sunnier moments in the Coupe de France. At Les Gones, Ryan Cherki is the symbol of this Cup success. At VAFC, Souleymane Basse is one of the bright spots.

Having arrived from Génération Foot last September, the 20-year-old Senegalese left-back is shining in this competition, with 3 assists in 4 games. And yet, Souleymane Basse, who arrived after the squad had already completed its pre-season preparations, should first have acclimatized for a season with the northern club's reserves. However, the first team's difficult campaign prompted the club's directors to change tack, replacing Jorge Maciel with Ahmed Kantari, coach of the reserve team. The 38-year-old technician is riding high with his Senegalese left-back, whom he has come to appreciate very much since taking him under his wing. "We have a strong relationship. He was with me with the reserves, so I had to accompany him. I like his state of mind and the way he radiates," says the Valenciennes coach.

Souleymane Basse, a former playmaker

Since Kantari took over, Souleymane Basse has settled in on the Nordistes' left flank. And this express adaptation comes as no surprise to Ben Abass Faye, Génération Foot's press attaché, who followed the defender's first steps in Senegal's Ligue 1."He spent three good seasons with us, the last of which was very successful, culminating in the Senegalese league title. He's a very good left-hander with good technique.A t the CNEPS in Thiès, where he trained, he was a playmaker. It was at Génération Foot that he began to play, first as a left wing-back, then as a left midfielder. With the departure of Khadim Diaw to Horoya AC (D1 Guinea), he dropped back a notch. Olivier Perrin (former GF coach) installed him at left-back.At the start, he may have had an athletic deficit against some defenders, but after a while he was equally at home defensively and offensively. His crosses on the move were very decisive. He's a safe bet," says the journalist, who is not at all "surprised by Souleymane Basse's current performances".


Courted in Italy and Spain

Thanks to his fine performances, the left-hander is already being courted.Alas, Verona in Italy and Osasuna in Spain are both interested in him. For Basse, the French Cup semi-final against OL is the perfect opportunity to further convince his courtiers. He knows what these kinds of meetings mean, and what they're all about."It was during the AFCON U20 he won in Egypt with Senegal in 2023 that Valenciennes spotted him and wanted to recruit him," informs Ben Abass Faye. A solid performance could see him move up to the Spanish or Italian top flight, and avoid a descent into National 1 with Valenciennes.But that's not all...

On the doorstep of the Lions' den

Souleymane Basse has been irreproachable with Senegal's U20s, African champions just one year ago in Egypt, and could soon open the doors to the Lions A. He plays in a position where the competition is much less stiff. Behind Ismaël Jacobs, a regular at the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 African Cup of Nations, it's a bit of a desert. Fodé Ballo Touré, called up several times by Cissé, is in trouble at club level. Mikayil Ngor Faye, called up to the rescue during the March gathering, undeniably scored points against Gabon (3-0), but left foot is not his preferred position. Cissé could therefore invite Souleymane Basse back next June if he finishes the season well with Valenciennes.

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