Toure Ousmane Kader is the famous 23-year-old midfielder who scored seven goals for the Chiang Mai FC last season. Coming from the Ivory Coast, he’s one of only four foreigners playing on the team, and he already has a world of experience playing football in various clubs abroad. A month into the new season, Citylife decided to pay him a visit at the Lanna Tigers Academy.
Citylife: What did you do before you joined the Chiang Mai FC?
Toure Ousmane Kader: It all started at seven or eight years old, when I entered the Yéo Martial School in Abidjan. I got noticed there, and I played for years with this first division team. In 2007, I played in the Ivorian national team at the Toulon Tournament in France, where we were the first African team ever to come in third. My performance there caught the eye of agents, and I trained with numerous teams afterwards in France, Australia and Qatar. I finally ended up in Chiang Mai the 31st December, 2011, with the help of a Belgian agent who had already brought several Ivorian players to Thailand.
Citylife: You’ve been here over a year now. What do you think of Thailand?
Toure Ousmane Kader: I like it. Life is cheap and there’s more means for football than in the Ivory Coast. In addition, Thai people like good football players and that makes me want to surpass myself. As for their football level, Thai players have a good technique, but it’s not enough to succeed in this sport. You saw the training yourself _ there’s a lack of seriousness that I’ve never seen in the other teams I played with before. I have the impression that players don’t really care if they win or lose; they’re just here to have a good time. I wouldn’t say this about the teams in the Thai Premier League, they are pretty serious. But the players in the lower teams need to concentrate more if they want to get better. That applies to Chiang Mai FC as well! We’ve played four matches so far in this season, and we are ranked only 4th in the third division, so there’s still a lot of work to do.
Citylife: What is your best memory with the team?
Toure Ousmane Kader: My first game in the Chiang Mai stadium. When I got replaced, I was applauded by all the supporters. It was the first time, and it made me really happy.
Citylife: What is your lifestyle like in Chiang Mai?
Toure Ousmane Kader: I work hard to get better and better. We have two trainings a day: one in the morning and one in the evening. I’m living in the Academy’s residence, so I wake up every morning at five. I pray and then I go work on training myself on the field. I sometimes go out at night when I’m happy and I have something to celebrate, but I never drink.
Citylife: Who is your favourite player?
Toure Ousmane Kader: I like Sanchez, but my favourite player is definitely Ribéry. I didn’t know of him before I played in the Toulon Tournament but while I was there, people began comparing my offensive playing style with his, and that’s how he began to inspire me.
Citylife: What are your plans for the future?
Toure Ousmane Kader: Honestly, I see Chiang Mai FC as a springboard. My dream would be to play in France, in any team and in any division. I’m afraid to leave Chiang Mai FC by the backdoor though, because I love the team and its supporters.
Citylife: What do you think about the professional footballer life?
Toure Ousmane Kader: It’s intense. Of course you need to have a good agent who can motivate you and send you to good teams. But you also really need to feel stable and to believe in yourself. I’ve faced a lot of disillusionment during my career, but I’m not discouraged. If I was, I wouldn’t be standing in front of you in this field with a football in my hands. I’m from a poor country; I’m used to training hard with courage and determination in order to move ahead. In the end, all I really want is to enjoy myself and to play good football.
The 2013 FC season is in full swing until September and Chiang Mai FC plays almost every week, so there will be plenty of opportunities to support your local team at the 700 Years Stadium. Tickets costs between 40 and 80 baht, depending on the seat.
For a full match schedule, visit www.chiangmaifc.com.