After a globe-tottering career which has taken him to Belgium, Ukraine, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Finland, Kazakhstan, South Africa and recently Latvia, Burkina Faso forward Aristide Bance has joined Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas ahead of the new season.
At the twilight of his career, the once dreaded Bance talks to CAFOnline.com on the choice to return to the Ivorian league, amongst others. Below are excerpts;
Cafonline.com: Why did you choose to play in the Ivorian championship after years of playing in top leagues in Europe and Asia?
Aristide Bance: There are good reasons for returning to our continent (Africa) to continue playing football. Especially in the Ivorian championship, which after analysis, will give me a better chance to warm up myself. My last club was in Latvia. I am done playing there as the championship has ended and I had to find a club within which I can continue to play.
You could have looked to Europe?
Presently in Europe, it is almost impossible to sign for a club given that the transfer window is shut. It would mean waiting till January for the transfer window to open. Meanwhile, in Latvia, my club was proposing a new contract, but I was no happy with the terms especially because preparations for the new season resumes in March 2017. This situation would have stopped me from playing. To keep shape and keep up with the spirit of AFCON 2017, and other important stakes of African football, I thus decided to return, as we say “home”. That is how I picked the Ivorian championship which will be kicking off in a couple of days.
Do you think joining ASEC is a good choice?
It is a sporting choice I had to do by signing for ASEC. It is a great African club. They are known to everyone; has adequate infrastructure and is a professional organisation. Not all teams on our continent have such a setup. In ASEC, I see the picture and characteristics of professional clubs in Europe.
It was reported that other Ivorian clubs, notably newly promoted WAC de Williamsville and reigning champions, AS Tanda were also on your heels?
WAC is a very great team and more so my former club. But I chose not go there now, given that my being in the Burkina Faso national team requires that I play in clubs of a certain stature. What I’m mean is ASEC has a better reputation than other teams and this perception motivated me to choose ASEC over the others. It is almost the same situation with AS Tanda where I would have effectively signed, for it is equally a team that it trying to leave its prints on the international scene. I already know the Ivorian championship as I played here at the time when RC Daoukro moved from the second to the first division.
How did you get in contact with ASEC?
I got in touch with acquaintances here in Abidjan who advised me to consider ASEC or AS Tanda. I also have a lot of Burkinabe compatriots in ASEC’s team, notably our goalkeeper, Herve Kouakou Koffi. Also there is Issouf Ouattara who played with the Stallions during 2013 AFCON. All of them encouraged me to choose the club. What is most interesting is that the club has maintained its professional installations. I was particularly happy to have met former Cote d’Ivoire forward and ASEC graduate, Bakary Kone, also training with the club. He also encouraged me to go for the Yellow and Black.
The Ivorian championship kicks off on November 19. Is this a good opportunity for you to be fully ready for the Total AFCON Gabon 2017?
It is a great springboard for me. Considering that Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon have almost the same climate. So I would have no issue at this level. Also, I need to maintain the rhythm of high competition in order to respond effectively to the exigencies of the national team matches. I can even say my AFCON starts with the training sessions and matches that I will play with the Abidjan team.
Is your return to Africa a signal call to those African footballers who are having difficulties finding their feet in Europe and Asia?
My return is in effect symbolic. It is an occasion to sensitize African footballers, in Europe or in North Africa and who are finding it difficult to emerge, to return to their native countries or get into more organized clubs in other countries to re-launch their careers. I say so with confidence and optimism. ASEC did this successfully in the early 1990s by bringing Abdoulaye Traoré “Ben Badi”, Gadji Céli, Bédé James, Gouamené Alain back to Cote d’Ivoire. In Gabon, there was Daniel Cousin, the former team captain, who returned home to play. These are positive initiatives and I’m convinced it is a good thing.