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Basketball. Aminata Gueye leaves Mondeville for the LFB: “It’s exciting and stressful at the same time”

Aminata Gueye will have played five years at Mondeville. She was part of an exceptional 2002 generation. ©Aline Chatel

For her as for Mondeville, it is a page that turns. Five years after her arrival at the club, to fill a training center where she will win everything, Aminata Gueye has decided to join Toulouse. It is with the promoted that she will find a level discovered in 2019, the year of the descent of the USOM in Ligue 2. The pivot had shown first promises, confirmed the following season (11 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 2019-2020) before a serious injury stopped her in her tracks. At 20, Aminata Gueye is ready for a fresh start.

Aminata, the season is finally over since the lost small final of the Euro U20 with the France team. How does this latest international youth campaign leave you feeling?

I still have a feeling of regret because we lose games stupidly. Physically, there was no match between us and the others. If we had passed the half, I’m sure we could have won the final against Spain. Personally, I only had 15 minutes of playing time per match because the refereeing didn’t allow big players to play. We took sick mistakes… I was very disappointed. I feel like I haven’t had the chance to express myself.

Was leaving Mondeville to join Toulouse obvious?

No, because we still had a chance to ride with Mondeville. I could have stayed, since I still had a year of contract. When it started to get complicated, I felt it was time to leave. I love novelty, I’m excited.

Is there a little taste of unfinished leaving Mondeville in Ligue 2?

Yes, I would have liked to raise the club with the girls with whom I grew up. I hope they will manage to do so next year. Leaving Mondeville is a little weird, I learned everything there. But it was important for me to leave my comfort zone. I need to gain experience. I had to leave Mondeville. My years at Mondeville have been extremely rewarding, both humanly and sportingly.

“I prefer the interiors of my profile”

You will find the Women’s League, a championship where you had your first appearances in pro…

It seems far but close at the same time. I was making small appearances, so I can’t really refer to that. This time, I’ll have a real role, I won’t be the little girl. We will have to assume. We will have to manage. However, it is a championship that must be approached like the others.

An extremely tough championship…

It’s exciting and stressful at the same time. There are big chunks, girls you’re used to seeing on TV. I watched the games on my computer this year. It’s quite stressful to think that we will be opposed to them, but I take it well. I will only be able to progress with opponents like Isabelle Yacoubou, Christelle Diallo, Kariata Diaby, Héléna Ciak… I am a taker.

These are profiles similar to yours, which you seem to prefer…

It will be very different from Ligue 2 where the interiors are more fleeting, more in the shoot, less imposing. There, it will only be large pieces. Indeed, I tend to prefer this profile, a bit like mine. With the fleeing interiors, I have a problem in defense. But I will find myself facing girls who are often very experienced.

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“I was starting to find myself at the end of the season”

Toulouse, is it the ideal way to continue your progress?

I wanted a team in the middle of the table, even at the bottom of the table, to have playing time, a role and progress crescendo. For me, it was not relevant to go directly to a big club and play little there. I think Toulouse is the right club to express myself. I signed for two years. We’ll see if I have the level and if I can climb the ladder little by little. I’m not in a hurry. I go at my own pace.

Your years at Mondeville were marked by your serious injury, a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee.

I was afraid that it would change something in my game, that I wouldn’t find a good level. Little by little, I forget that I was hurt. I think I can get back to my best level. At the start of the season, it was complicated. I was not in good physical shape. I couldn’t play more than four, five minutes in a row. I started to find myself at the end of the season. I have the summer to get back in good shape, since we will not resume until September 1st.

You were certainly hoping for a better season, collectively but also individually.

I wouldn’t say the season was disappointing, only the end was. Collectively, we were able to do great things, with a brand new collective. Personally, I was coming back from injury. The start of the season was mixed. I don’t worry about my stats. Afterwards, it’s clear that I would have preferred to have a better season. I couldn’t go faster than my body dictated.

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