After winning Africa Cup of Nations, Odilon Kossounou aims for more titles with Leverkusen

Odilon Kossounou has something ahead of his Leverkusen colleagues: a title in 2024. But after winning the Africa Cup of Nations, the Ivorian is calling for further triumphs: “We have to take advantage of this opportunity!”

After winning the African Cup with Ivory Coast, Odilon Kossounou is now looking forward to one or more titles with Bayer 04. IMAGO/eu-images

He has already achieved one big goal with his national team in his home country. Odilon Kossounou won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast at the beginning of February. Since last week and various celebrations such as the reception by the Ivorian President, 23-year-old Odilon Kossounou now wants to make the current season a very special one in Leverkusen.

“The way we do it in the Bundesliga and also in the cup, not forgetting the Europa League, I believe that I and all the players in Leverkusen can have a great year,” predicts the defender and demands: “If “We have this chance, we have to use it. The way we play, the way we focus, we have to win something in the end.”

The central defender sees good opportunities for this not only in the DFB Cup, where Bayer 04 will face second division team Fortuna Düsseldorf in the semi-finals, but also in the league. No wonder, now eight points ahead of FC Bayern Munich.

Kossounou and the Ivory Coast as a role model

“The chances are good. We’re ahead,” says Kossounou, before adding coach Xabi Alonso’s slogan: “But we’re taking it game by game. We’re not looking at the eight points and thinking: ‘It’s almost done .’ It’s not easy against a team like Bayern Munich. They can come back.”

So far everything has gone smoothly for Bayer 04 in the league. Completely different to the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup, where the coach was initially fired in the middle of the tournament. “We’ve experienced everything. We lost, we came back, we won the title. That means a lot for me and my mentality. I can bring that to the team too,” says Kossounou. His club colleagues have already demonstrated this resilience in games like in Leipzig and in the cup against Stuttgart (3:2 after 0:1 and 1:2).

But in the event of serious setbacks, Kossonou and Ivory Coast can serve as an example. “We need the faith that we showed in the Africa Cup in the Bundesliga, the Cup and the Europa League,” says the Ivorian, who calls tactics and playmaking an important component of Bayer’s success.

“When I play, I will give it my all”

Reigning Africa Cup of Nations champion: Odilon Kossounou. IMAGO/Newscom World

This is how Kossounou describes the team spirit in the Leverkusen squad based on his personal situation. The right-footed player, who has developed into an absolute top performer this season, still doesn’t know whether he will be back in Leverkusen’s starting eleven for the first time after his return a week ago on Friday against Mainz.

“If I play, I will give everything. If not, I will stand behind the team and support them,” is how he describes the team’s inner commitment. “Because in the end we all want to achieve something. And with this mentality we will be very strong.”

2024-02-21 20:15:00
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