Kolkata: Ousmane Cardinal N’Diaye has officially signed for I-League side, Mohammedan Sporting Club for the 2022/23 season.
The French-Senegalese centreback recalled his initial reaction when he heard of this opportunity to play in India.
“To be honest, when my legal representatives, Trebol Sports International, first informed me about this possibility, I wasn’t really enthusiastic. However, when I learnt more about the team’s name, I was pleasantly surprised. When I spoke to Mr Deepak Singh (club investor), Coach Andrey Chernyshov, Mr Debaditya Das (Head of Operations) over a zoom meeting, I had no doubt that this is where I want to be.”
The former Genclerbirligi defensive lynchpin recounted that one of his closest childhood friends is from India but he has yet to inform him about his new footballing adventure.
“I do not have the opportunity to speak to him yet but he and his family are beautiful people. India is a great world power with its unique culture and customs. From someone who barely knows Indian football, I have been checking the club’s and national team’s games online.”
Another of Ousmane’s close pals, Florentin Pogba signed for Mohammedan’s arch rivals, ATK Mohun Bagan this season. The 30-year-old shared his thoughts on this remarkable turnaround since they last played together in Turkey in 2018.
“I did not have any discussion with Florentin before making my decision. Of course, I am looking forward to seeing him again. He is still a very good person even when he becomes a famous player.”
Ousmane’s relationship with India did not just stop at the brother of Paul Pgoba. Former Mumbai City crowd favourite, Modou Sougou happens to be his cousin.
“Modou only told me positive things about the country and the I-League. He even encouraged me to explore my career in India. I think he has forged many fond memories here.”
While the former Olympique Lyon youth product is waiting patiently for his visa paperwork to go through, he has set his sights on a good season ahead.
“My personal goal is to adapt quickly enough so that I can help my team achieve the goals which are set. I know that Mohammedan has many global fans around the world and I am looking forward to make them feel proud.”