Monday 27 May 2013

Big names back for Brittany ahead of Mali encounter

Victory..Brittany before the 3-1 win over Congo in 2008
The Brittany national team, which operates in a similar way to the Spanish autonomous sides, will have a strong squad when they take on FIFA member Mali tomorrow night in Carquefou. 

The Bretagne Football Association have not organised a match for 2 years when a side drawn primarily from Ligue 2 and Championnat National clubs disappointingly lost 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea. However this year well-travelled manager Claude Le Roy has a number of Ligue 1 players to call on including Toulouse midfielder Etienne Didot, Rennes defender Romain Danzé and Les Blues goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau, who plays for Bastia. 

Captain...Didot will lead Brittany
Mali will represent a thorough test of the non-FIFA side’s ability however after consecutive 3rd-place finishes at the African Cup of Nations and a current world ranking of 26.The match has been branded ‘Solidarité Mali’ with all proceeds going to the war-torn African nation. BFA president Gerard Russo explained “this charity match is for the benefit of Kati, a Malian town twinned with Saint-Sebastien-sur-Loire”.

The Brittany national team has generally failed to call on such big name players over the last few years demonstrated by the previously mentioned loss to Equatorial Guinea as well as a 2-0 defeat by Corsica in a non-FIFA match in 2010. Despite this they have a decent record against African sides having beaten Congo 3-1 in 2008 and Togo 2-1 2 years later. There were rumours of a Celtic Nations Cup with Scotland, Ireland and Wales being set-up a few years ago but that pipe-dream seems to have fizzled out.

Setting...USJA Carquefou will host some big names
Gaël Danic of Valenciennes will prove a handful in attack along with England-based Yann Kermorgant , who is currently at Charlton Athletic. The midfield also looks strong with Toulouse enforcer Etienne Didot and Johann Ramaré of Reims set to start. The powerful Malian attack could cause a defence not used to playing together problems but Landreau remains a steady figure in goal after moving to Bastia in December. There remain doubts of Landreau's role however after Lyon midfielder Yoann Gorcuff pulled out having been called up to the French national team, which the former Lille stopper has also been named in.

Former Barcelona man Seydou Keita, focal point the national team, is included in the Mali squad as The Eagles prepare for June World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and Benin. Mamadou Samassa will likely lead the line although there have been calls for manager Patrice Carteron to start Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabaté instead. Carteron is from Brittany and recently caused controversy by agreeing to coach Congolese club TP Mazembe in conjunction with the Malian national team.
The Voice...Chab' poses in a Brittany jacket

The inclusion of big names – effectively a full-strength Brittany team – means USJA Carquefou’s 3,500 capacity Stade du Moulin-Boisseau is expected to be sold out tomorrow evening. Laura Chab’, star of French reality television show The Voice, will bring further glamour to the 3rd-tier club when she sings the national anthems. The match kicks off at 20:30 local time (19:30 UK) and we will endeavour to bring updates via our Twitter service @NonFIFAfootball during the game. A full report will be available on the blog in the coming days as well as our exclusive interview for May.

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