Football: Cosafa Cup ‒ Interview with Tariq Cedras |04 July 2022
‘It is an honour for me to represent my country’
Seychelles football team manager Michael Mancienne said they had two training sessions yesterday, hours after arriving in Durban, South Africa to take part in the Cosafa Cup.
The team left the country yesterday morning and travelled for 13 hours including a nine-hour bus drive from Johannesburg to Durban, arriving at their hotel at midnight (2am Seychelles time).
Michael Mancienne, who plays for Burton Albion in the English League One, left England on Friday and met the team in Johannesburg.
Seychelles have the honour of playing the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup tournament’s opening match against Botswana in group A tomorrow at 4pm at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban.
Sponsored by Hollywoodbets, the tournament will run until July 17 and a total of 23 matches will be played in 13 days and Seychelles will play their second match against Angola on Thursday July 7 at 7pm before rounding up their group A fixtures with a match-up against Comoros on Sunday July 10 at 4pm.
On head coach Vivian Bothe’s list of 23 players is a notable invitee in the form of midfielder Tariq Cedras. He is the only locally based player playing outside the Premier League and won the Championship with his team Bel Air a fortnight ago.
Sports NATION brings you an interview with the 20-year-old who has said he is looking forward to make the most of the opportunity.
Sports NATION: How does it feel to be called to the national team and making the team for the Cosafa tournament?
Tariq Cedras:It is an honour for me to represent my country at such a big tournament like the Cosafa Cup. I am proud of myself because this season I’ve played hard and even trained harder. So this is my first call-up and it is such a positive influence for me and for the youngsters coming after me.
Sports NATION: You are the only player from the bottom league on the team. What does that represent for you?
Tariq Cedras:It shows for a youngster you need playing time. I believe that’s why I got selected, it’s because I got to play the whole season and winning the Championship with Bel Air was a big boost.
Sports NATION: What are your expectations with the team?
Tariq Cedras:For my first call-up to the team the aim is to gain maximum experience, but definitely I want to get some minutes also. But again, it’s always the team before any player.
Sports NATION: How long have you been playing football?
Tariq Cedras:I am now 20 years old and I’ve been playing football since I was six. I started playing in an academy named River Star under coach Michel. This is where I learned the basics of football and I played for La Rosière primary and Belonie secondary schools. In 2016, I got involved with the under-16, under-18 and under-20 national teams. In 2018, I was selected in the under-18 team to take part in the Jeux de la Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien (CJSOI) in Djibouti. After that I joined Bel Air in the third division. This season we played in the Championship (division two) and we won the title and promoted to the top flight. I believe this season has been my breakthrough season, scoring five goals and getting a number of assists.
Sports NATION: Can you tell us what the defining moment in your football career was?
Tariq Cedras:The defining moment of my short football career was during my time with the under-18 national team under the leadership of coach Patrick Cafrine who has sadly passed away (he passed away on Tuesday September 5, 2017). It was during my first year playing in the youth league and since I liked dribbling a lot, coach Cafrine didn’t like it at all. For the whole season I played only a few minutes or didn’t play at all. I definitely needed to change my style of play and during the second year when we were playing in the third division I was a completely different player. I passed the ball more, ran more for the team and became a team player and for that I got into coach Cafrine’s team. After that, he built his first 11 around me and since then I have never looked back. Now, I see myself fitting in any team’s style of play because coach Cafrine made me understand that no player is bigger than the team. For that, I thank him in heaven. So, you see, I didn’t quit when I was not called to the team but instead changed my playing style. For coach Cafrine, it is best to keep things simple in football and in life in general.
My message to fellow youngsters in sports is “we must not give up. If we really want to achieve something in life we have to work smart, pray a lot, have faith in the Creator, love the game and train hard. We must believe to achieve it, it’s on us the youths to make the changes, let’s go and get what Allah has in store for us. We all have our gifts and blessings let’s use it to make a difference.”
For me, the only place where I don’t feel any pain in on a football field. I will leave you with this quote: ‘Let’s get high as an eagle but our eagle eye view must be lethal.’