Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


No sodas, red meat, sausages: Djibouti coach goes tough

Djibouti coach Julien Mette before their 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup opening match against Somalia on December 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 12 – In previous editions of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, anyone pooled against Djibouti would always look at that fixture as one to boost their goal difference as it was as sure as daylight that anyone would beat them by whichever number of goals they wished.

But at the 2019 edition, the Shoremen of the Red sea have shown that they are an improved side after picking four points in two matches and are now on the brink of making a first ever semi-final.

A point against Somalia and a shock win against Burundi have put them only one win away from a last four slot and if they beat third placed Eritrea on Friday, then they are all sure of getting into the semis.

“We have a final against Eritrea and we will go all out to try and win and achieve an objective,” said Julien Mette, the 37-year old French tactician who has been leading the slow but sure revolution of Djibouti football since he joined in June.

And it is not just at the senior challenge that they have shown their mettle, but they have qualified for the first time ever to compete in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Djibouti players line up before their 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup opening match against Somalia on December 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In total, Mette has overseen 10 matches already, winning four, drawing a similar number and losing two.

The Frenchman, who has never played competitive football before has disclosed to Capital Sport the raft of changes he made to ensure the team becomes better.

“In Europe where I studied for almost 13 years, diet is very important. One of the first things I did is forbid some foods; soda is forbidden in our team, white sugar, no sausages or processed foods, no red meat, only fish and chicken. We are very tough and I put a lot of discipline in the diet,” the tactician stated.

Djibouti taking on Burundi during their 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup opening match at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala, Uganda on December 11, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“We have added a bit more on the carbohydrates. We eat of pasta, rice and a lot of fruits and water,” he added.

It has been evident in their two matches so far, especially looking at their endurance over 90 minutes against a physical team like Burundi. On top of the diet, the tactician stated that he had to also do lots of mind training.

“We know that we are not strong and we don’t have lots of muscles and it will take years to build that. We have worked on how we can make runs, sprints and press for 90 minutes. My training is really tough. The first thing I also did was change their mentality. You know if the mind says the muscle can’t do it then it can’t. But if we can change the mentality we can change the player,” he added.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Having built up a team mostly made up of players who are 23 years and under, Mette sees a bright future for Djibouti. He says they will have a realistic chance to fight for qualification to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


More on Capital Sports


NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – DStv and GOtv subscribers are in for a treat of the world’s best football this week as the 2020-21...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – Gentrix Shikangwa scored with two minutes left as Vihiga Queens sailed to the final of the CECAFA regional qualifiers...


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

© 2022 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved