Africa: Koita - Following the Footsteps of Mane and Keita

Mali and FC Red Bull Salzburg attacker Sekou Koita.

Mali and FC Red Bull Salzburg attacker Sekou Koita is following in the footsteps of Senegal's Sadio Mane and Naby Keita of Guinea to fulfill his dreams of becoming a star player.

The 19-year forward is in the books of the Austrian giants FC Red Bull Salzburg's where Mane and Keita passed through.

"At the moment everything is going well and I think I am following in the footsteps of my brothers Sadio Mané or Naby Keïta who played for Salzburg." Koita told Cafonline ahead of his side's semifinal against Nigeria in Niamey.

"Things are not going so badly in my club where I played for a year with the reserve team and I played regularly. Since the last transfer window I have been loaned to FC Liefering for six months."

Sekou has been involved in Mali's three group matches at the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations as the West Africans finished second in Group B behind neighbors Senegal.

"Our goal is to be able to play five games of the competition and our fifth game is the final. We're here to take the cup and not to attend the tournament. The group is doing well and the atmosphere is good for the challenge."

This is his second tournament with the Aiglons after appearing in Zambia two years ago where they finished bottom the Group A with one point.

"In Zambia we went with the prospect of winning the trophy but unfortunately it didn't happen but people need to know that Malian football has evolved with a lot talented emerging players. We're regularly present in youth competitions and this time we want to go further."

The 2015 FIFA U-17 finalist is tagged as Mali's star player at this tournament despite not scoring a goal in the first three games.

"My teammates and I are forming a team and we are here to make sure we go back home with the trophy. I did not come to do things individually but rather to play as a team to achieve our goal."

Mali will face seven time Africa U-20 Cup of Nations champions Nigeria for a place in Sunday's final in Niamey.


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