'Either I stop playing football or I get back on my feet' Clermont keeper Mory Diaw’s long road to redemption

'Either I stop playing football or I get back on my feet' Clermont keeper Mory Diaw’s long road to redemption

Publish on 02/17 at 14:28 - G. BOXALL


Clermont’s goalkeeper and Senegal’s number two Mory Diaw started his life in football at PSG, but a fatal mistake meant he had to take a seven year road to redemption before returning as one of the safest pair of hands in Ligue 1 Uber Eats with Clermont

On his return to action with Clermont after coming back from Senegal’s AFCON campaign, Mory Diaw was vital in Les Lancier’s draw against a high-flying Brest side at Stade Gabriel-Montpied last weekend. Whilst he was powerless to prevent Pierre Lees Melou’s strike into the top corner, he more than made up for it by preventing three clear-cut chances from Le Douaron, Lees-Melou, and Martin during added time.

It’s not the first time the Senegal number two has impressed this season, having been vital during Clermont’s 0-0 draw against Paris Saint-Germain in September."When he gives us games like that, we know that nothing much can happen to us. He did the job the way he knows how," applauded Clermont captain Johan Gastien after holding the Ligue 1 champions on home soil.

It was in fact at PSG where Mory Diaw’s career started, playing in the capital club’s youth team and reserve side until 2015. Yet, it would take a seven-year adventure overseas in Portugal, Bulgaria, and Switzerland before returning to France. After being involved in a scandal at PSG involving several old tweets, the Senegal international went into exile, first in the Portuguese second division with Mafra (2015-2017), then for six months in Bulgaria with Lokomotiv Plovdiv (2017) before staying two years without playing.

Bouncing back in Switzerland

"I said to myself: either I stop playing football or I get back on my feet. I chose the second option. It gave me a mindset, but at one point it was hard. Every morning, I went for a run at 6am. Agents promised me the best but in the end nothing," he told La Montagne in October in a rare interview.

In 2019, he seized the opportunity to sign for Swiss fourth tier side FC United Zürich. "I wanted to play for fun because I'd lost that. I felt important in the team. I set the same high standards as I do here at Clermont, and it paid off," he explained at the time.

The latter club ultimately served as a springboard before he signed for Lausanne Sport (2019-2022), in Switzerland's second division, ultimately gaining promotion to the Swiss Superleague as a reward for his perseverance. The start of a new era for Mory Diaw. It was here that Philippe Vaugeois, Clermont's head recruiter, came to find him. The Senegalese was won over by what he had to say. "I needed a place where I could feel important. That's what I've been given here," he told La Montagne.

Diaw’s journey reached a new pinnacle in 2022 when he was called up for the Senegal international team, making his debut in a 4-2 win over Brazil last June - before being called up as Senegal’s number two for their recent AFCON campaign in Ivory Coast.

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