On the sidelines of the charity match between a selection of French players and another made up of Guinean players, this Sunday in Tours (7-5), the French international Paul Pogba spoke to the press.
“Paul, why did you organize this charity match?”
As I said before, before we are footballers, we are men, we are humans, we are children. My mother, who is there, is Guinean. My father (died 2017) was Guinean. It is our country, that of our ancestors. We wanted to do something good to help, hence this little game. We are going to help a lot of people in the country. Today, with the world that there is (10,000 people at the Vallée-du-Cher stadium), the impact it had could help a lot of people.
Among the objectives announced, those of allowing better access to drinking water and education in Guinea …
As you know, in Guinea, it is not Europe, there are many difficulties. Whether it is access to water, food, education, hospitals … There are not the same facilities in Africa and in particular in Guinea: we wanted to press on it, to make a gesture. So come here, play, do what you like. Make children smile, help men and women. As we said, this event is also in relation to women who give birth and do not have the help we have here in Europe: it will help in Guinea.
What relationship do you have with your parents’ country?
With my mother, we went to Guinea, it’s been a long time. My brothers (Florentin, defender of Atlanta United, and Mathias, midfielder of CD Manchego, D 4 ESP), often go there with the national team. Me, with the matches, there are impediments, but we are planning my coming, we are preparing that to go to the villages, to that of my parents, to help the maximum.
Manchester United playing during the holidays, was it not complicated to release you?
It was very important to me. We managed the dates well with my brothers. I knew I had a match yesterday (Manchester United moved to Burnley yesterday without the Frenchman, 2-0). Coming here is difficult with training, with my impediments. But for me, whether it was for two or three hours, it didn’t bother me. We organized ourselves well for a very, very good cause.
Was it impossible that you weren’t there?
For me, yes, it was impossible (his brother, Mathias, cuts him off: “If he couldn’t have been there, we would have changed the date”). There are people: I am very surprised by the world present at the stadium. I know that people also came to see a French international, my brothers … It was important for me to be here, to live this moment.
You were able to measure your popularity rating in France, where you don’t often have the opportunity to be in recent months …
It was not for that! But it’s true that it shows today that there are also fans in Tours, I realize that. But the most important thing is not me but this event. “