This article also featured in the 2018 GFFN 100
Life as a footballer has been tumultuous for Moussa Konate, his career hampered by unagreeable coaches, selfish agents and even his own fierce desire to progress, but in 2018 Konate has proven that his future remains bright. “Now I make my own decisions.” says Konate, “I took my life back.”
Hailing from Mbour, Senegal, Konate arrived in Europe as a teenager, eventually signing for Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv after various trails, a move he admits was ‘risky’. Some impressive Europa League displays were enough to salvage an injury affected campaign and instigate a move to Russian club Kuban Krasnodar, albeit against Konate’s wishes.
“I did not want to sign,” explained the forward in L’equipe, “My agent and Maccabi forced me to go. They would not let me go elsewhere and if I stayed in Tel Aviv they would not play me. Many people thought that money brought me there, but I didn’t have a choice.” Irked by Konate’s salary his new Krasnodar coach was unimpressed, “He said that with the money they paid me, he could buy four players in his country,” Konate explained. Despite standing out at the 2012 Olympics for Senegal, a 2013 loan move to Genoa also failed to come off, scoring just once in 25 Serie A outings.
It was not just goals that were proving an issue. “I’ve also been repeatedly scammed by agents,” Konate explained, “some took my money without my knowledge, they picked up my signing bonuses, did odd things. They knew I didn’t understand anything about how high-level football functioned.” Frustrated, Konate took control of his affairs and moved to Sion where he finally blossomed. A half century of goals across 115 games in all competitions during four years in Switzerland, winning the Swiss cup, generated widespread interest from England, France and Russia - Amiens eventually winning out.
In parallel to other newcomers at the Stade de la Licorne, Konate stated his desire to progress together with his new club, “The team can give me a lot, and I can bring a lot too.” he told Courrier Picard. Thirteen league goals last season, equaling Kylian Mbappe and including a brace in a 2-2 draw with PSG, as Amiens finished a comfortable 13th in their inaugural Ligue 1 season proved Konate was right however.
Despite an improved goal tally of late, the 25 year old forward still scores in patches. However, his physicality, ability to hold up the ball while providing a focal point for his side’s attacks, bringing others into the game, has been critical for Amiens, whether Konate nets himself or not. This has become ever clearer this winter as a groin issue sidelined Konate for two months, Amiens’ attack suffering horribly in his absence as Pelissier’s charges slipped towards the bottom two.
Minor attitude issues can occasionally prove prohibitive, his Sion display’s diminishing having not got the desired move sooner while he was dropped to the bench for arriving late to a team meeting last season. Nevertheless, as Konate’s Ligue 1 form shows, if he continues to make the right decisions, his destiny remains in his own hands.
by Adam White