How Soumahoro's shortcomings could ironically land him an international career

24 May 2018 - 12:56 By Mark Gleeson
Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembélé (L) breaks away from Mamelodi Sundowns defender Bangaly Soumahoro during the two club's friendly Nelson Mandela Centenary Trophy match May 16, 2018 at FNB Soccer Stadium in Johannesburg.
Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembélé (L) breaks away from Mamelodi Sundowns defender Bangaly Soumahoro during the two club's friendly Nelson Mandela Centenary Trophy match May 16, 2018 at FNB Soccer Stadium in Johannesburg.
Image: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Bangaly Soumahoro’s recent defensive shortcomings have ironically set him up for the potential of an international career after the publicity he received playing for Mamelodi Sundowns against Barcelona brought him to the attention of Guinea.

The centre-back made two horror defensive errors‚ including one inside the opening three minutes‚ to see the Catalan giants to an easy win over the South African champions in their gala game at Soccer City just over one week ago.

It was a rare outing for Soumaharo this year as he has had to take the back seat at Sundowns since Ricardo Nascimento returned to the club in the January transfer window.

But illness means Nascimento missed out against Barcelona‚ handing Soumahoro some time in the spotlight.

It meant that when he arrived last Friday with the Sundowns squad in Guinea‚ where they went to play their Caf Champions League Group C game against Horoya‚ he received an overture to play for their national team.

Soumaharo is from the Ivory Coast but his mother is from Guinea‚ giving him the possibility to take out citizenship and play for the West African country.

“Somebody approached him to play for Guinea and I was a bit worried that if he thought too much about it before‚ it might affect his game‚” said coach Pitso Mosimane after the 2-2 draw that Sundowns forced in Conakry on Tuesday.

“And it did affect his game.

"He didn’t play exactly the way he always plays.

"He’s a better player. He was a bit nervous because of it … because he wanted to impress and he didn’t play his normal game‚” added Mosimane.

Soumahoro switched off at a vital moment in the game and left unmarked Horoya’s big centre-back Aboubacar Camara‚ who powered home a header from a corner to deny Sundowns the possibility of a come-from-behind victory and three valuable away points.

“But he’s a very good football player and in my opinion if he wants to play for Guinea I give the green light‚” the coach insisted.


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