“today in Africa, we must do more than our job as footballers”

Summer 2022. Cedric Bakambu is in Marseille and wants to play in the Champions League with OM. Convinced that he participated in the qualification of the Marseille club in C1, the former striker of Villarreal is pushed towards the exit and bounces on the side of Greece and Olympiacos. But while some question his ability to evolve at the highest level, Bakambu immediately adapts to his new environment and becomes essential within the emblematic Greek club to the point of becoming in just a few months one of the best. league players and the current top scorer in the Greek Super League. Quickly passing through Paris before joining the selection of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 31-year-old striker gave us a few minutes. Time to look back on his year 2022 and his recent performances with the Piraeus club. He took the opportunity to explain the reasons for his return to the selection. Selected pieces.

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Foot Mercato: Cédric how are you?

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Cedric Bakambu: it’s going very well thank you very much. The health is there, the performances on the pitch are there, the goals are there, the morale is there, everything is fine.

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FM: you’re the top scorer in the league, you look like you’re having a blast in Greece! How do you explain your return to great shape?

CC: it’s my job to score goals. From the moment I accept a challenge, I’m convinced that I can bring them and that’s why they come looking for me. The Olympiacos club trusted me, my teammates put me in good conditions and here we go. Everything was there to make it work.

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FM: how do you judge the level of the championship?

CC: frankly, it’s a good championship. I played in Turkey (at Bursaspor in 2014-2015), I see some similarities there. There is a good balance between technical players and rougher players. As for the fervor, I don’t even talk about it, it’s magnificent here the love for football. That’s what drives me. When you are a football player, you can only appreciate.

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FM: I imagine that the fervor of the Olympiacos supporters must be impressive?

CC: yes, it’s really amazing. And it goes both ways because when you lose you really feel the pressure of the people. The last game of the regular season, hundreds of fans on motorcycles escorted our bus. It was awesome.

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“I am not at all vindictive in relation to my experience at OM”

FM: there are a lot of French speakers in the team, that must have helped you adapt, right?

CC: yes, of course it definitely helps to be French-speakers. They are great guys with whom the feeling goes very well on and off the pitch. Afterwards, I am lucky to also come from the Spanish league (he played in Villarreal between 2015 and 2018) so it was cool to communicate with Spanish speakers like James Rodriguez or Marcelo, or even coach Michel.

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FM: In this regard, what do you think of your coach, also a former OM player?

CC: much good. The leaders were well inspired to sign coach Michel. The season did not start in the best way for the club, the coach was able to raise the bar and ensure that everyone is working effectively, in the same direction. With him, what’s good is that he knows what he wants.

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FM: is your current status as top scorer a revenge for your complicated experience at OM?

CC: no, I am not at all vindictive in relation to my experience at OM. I think that today everyone is happy with the turn of the trick. Me, I’m having fun in Greece, I’m the current top scorer in the championship, my team is doing well. For their part, OM are having a rather good season. So everyone is happy.

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FM: did you understand the criticism of Marseille supporters towards you?

CC: I especially understood the love of the supporters during the few goals that I was able to put on my half-season in Marseille!

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FM: If there is one thing that you will remember from your experience of a few months on the Canebière, what would it be?

CC: Marseille lives for football, there is an incredible fervor and no one can take that away from them!

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“I try to bring my stone to the building to pull our football up”

FM: Are you going to join the Congo national team, any special reunions a year after your last selection?

CC: modestly, with others no doubt, I did a lot for the selection. Unfortunately today in Africa and more precisely in the DRC we have to do more than our job as footballers. But hey, that’s how it is, we go with it and I try to bring my stone to the building to pull our football up. I had put my career in the background.

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FM: why this withdrawal precisely?

CC: I had decided on this little withdrawal in order to refocus on myself, find myself a club in which I will be fulfilled and come back stronger with the selection. Today things are progressing, not always at the desired speed, but they are progressing, I hope to help our football grow a little bit more. Currently the selection is in a bad patch and I will do everything to help the country.

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FM: you are 31 years old, what do you want for the rest of your career?

CC: already there are the play offs there right away. So the goal is to get the title for my club and our supporters. After, if we talk about the after, today, I consider that I am in the prime of life. My contract with Olympiacos ends at the end of the season, we’ll see. But there, I do not think of a departure.

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FM: tell us a bit about your involvement with your CA Vitry club? Where is the project?

CC: I’m very good. Today I am co-president of the club alongside the historical president of the club, Mr. Foppiani. The players and volunteers in the field do a lot of work day by day and I would like to take this opportunity to salute them because without this love of sport, amateur football would not last. With them, I know CA Vitry has a bright future ahead of it.

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