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Sports News of Monday, 22 June 2020


I came close to joining French side FC Lorient in 2013- Asante Kotoko's Naby Keita

Asante Kotoko SC striker Naby Laye Keita has revealed that he came to close to signing for the French side, FC Lorient in 2013, but the deal couldn't go through due to injury.

According to the 26-year-old, it is still the darkest moment of his career because it was his dream to play in Europe and he came close to achieving it only to be denied by an injury he suffered in a friendly match.

The Guinean recounts he was offered an initial opportunity to train with French giants Lyon. He excelled at Lyon, however, the club decided not to sign him because they had many options.

"I played very well and the club looked interested but surprisingly did not sign me because they said they had wingers Clinton N'jie from Cameroon and France's Alhasanne Plea," Keita reveals.

"My manager was amazed by the decision because he saw from how I performed that I deserved to be signed" continues Keita, who goes on to reveal his next move.

"My manager took me to Lorient. I played in four friendly games for the B team and scored six goals. The team was eager to sign me but that was when my fate began to turn."

"My visa was dying and so Lorient asked me to come back home and have it renewed. But, the major reason why I needed to return was that Horoya also needed me in a Premier League decider against Satellite FC."

"I obliged and returned to Guinea. Thankfully, we won that game 2-1 and I scored the winner. I got the visa renewed but did not leave for France immediately because Horoya asked me to wait and play in an upcoming FA Cup game."

"Once again, I heeded," Keita says as he purses to give a deep sigh. "Horoya arranged for a friendly game against a Division-One club and it was in that game that my Lorient dream ended."

"I sustained a bad ankle injury that ended me in a theatre in Morocco for a surgery which was sponsored by Horoya. I spent six months in Morocco and in all was condemned to the sidelines for two good years."

"It is the darkest moment of my career," stresses Keita. "I got so distraught. It was even worse for my mother who cried every time any of my team-mates or friends had deals abroad."

"But all is in the past now," says Keita who joined the Porcupines in October 2019 after a successful trial. "God knows why that happened. And I am glad that I am in Kotoko which is not just known in Africa but the world over."

Kotoko signed Keita in 2018 on a three-year deal.