Havant & Waterlooville have managed to sign a former PSG youth defender, ready for the upcoming 2020/21 National League South season.
The Hawks were sitting in second place at the time of seeing their season curtailed back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At first, it looked as though the league would only promote the leading club, given the extraordinary circumstances.
As the Hawks stood second in the division they, along with the similarly placed York City of the National League North, it kick started the #promote2 campaign for playoffs to take place or the second place club to be promoted.
Eventually play-offs did take place but Havant lost 2-1 to Dartford in their semi-final tie.
Now they hope to come back fighting for when their season starts again from October, and they have already started bringing ne signings into the club, their latest being Moussa Diarra from Woking.
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We’re delighted to announce the signing of defender Moussa Diarra from Woking.
After winning promotion once to The National League, he’s looking to do so again. #COYH
— Havant & Waterlooville FC (@HWFCOfficial) August 11, 2020
A club statement read: “Diarra joins the Hawks after a successful spell at the National League side, where he was part of the team that won promotion to the fifth tier in 2019. He has also had top tier Non-League experience with both Dover Athletic and Barrow.”
Commenting on signing, Diarra said: “I’m really happy. I had a good conversation with the manager and spoke to Bedsi Gomes, who’s a good friend of mine, so when Doswell rang me I didn’t have to think about joining. I’ve got an image of how things are going to happen at the end of the season, and that’s celebration”
Manager Paul Doswell was equally delighted to get this move finalised: “Moussa was one of our main targets for this season, and probably the marquee signing defensively. I watched him play for Woking many times and he had a fantastic season with them. He’s a fantastic leader on the pitch, and defensively he wins his headers in both boxes which is really important at this level.”
“Everyone at the Hawks wishes Moussa a very warm welcome.”
The 30 year old becomes boss Paul Doswell’s fourth summer signing following the arrivals of strikers Tommy Wright and Joe Iaciofano and midfielder Godfrey Poku.
French-born Diarra started his career in the youth set-up at Paris Saint-Germain, before moving to the UK in 2011.
It was back in 2016 that a number of Football League clubs including Cardiff City and Preston North End were tracking the 6 foot 6 defender, according to HITC Sport and their sources close to the two clubs, however he decided to remain at Barrow.
He recently took part in an interview with MTAG Football, have a read at what he was asked and what he had to say.
Why did you start playing football? And were you immediately a defender ?
When I was a kid around 7 years I used to go watch my old brother play football every weekend he’s the one who made me love football and that’s how I start playing football.
I’ve been playing left back at the start, I was really small compare to the other kids lol not like today then I moved centre back when I was 15. I don’t really enjoy running channel anyway so I definitely made the right choice.
How do you prepare for an (important) competition? (music, rituals, etc.) And why ?
I take all the games the same way no matter which team I’m playing against, before a game I like doing meditation it’s something I do regularly but on a game day it help me staying focus and concentrate and I will also listen music.
You came from the youth of St. Albans City FC. Did you noticed a lot of difference between the youth and the first team ?
When I came to England I realise that in France football it’s not that big, here in England it’s like a religion people are really passionate. Here the football is much more fast, intense and aggressive, this was the biggest difference I noticed when I start playing.
With Hampton & Richmond Borough FC, you are promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the National League South. How important was that moment for you ?
The promotion at Hampton and Richmond means a lot. The season before the club were fighting for relegation and no one gave us any hope.it was a long and hard season and to finish top of the league and also scored 14 leagues goal and 7 assists was a really big achievement. No matter where you play, winning title it’s the best feeling ever in football.
After your time by Hampton & Richmond Borough FC, you moved to Barrow AFC. How did you experience these period ?
My experience at Barrow was really good, I’ve got great memories, it take me time to settle, I meet some really good people and we are close friends now. The first year was good in general we finished just outside the play-off and the league was really strong at the time and I received few individual trophies at the end. The second year was.
More difficult, at the start was good we had a good team then the manager left because of some issues with the chairman at the time, we had 2 managers after that in same time I got injured. This season just didn’t happen how I wanted but it’s football its rarely how you want at the end lol.
In July 2019 you signed for Woking FC. Why did you chose for the second time for Woking ?
When I chose Woking at the time was only because of the manager and his staff. We’ve been together at Hampton and it was really good.
I think it’s important to be around people who believe in you people who will help you and give you everything you need to perform.
What were your highs and lows during your football career?
As a player I think there is always a time when you had enough of football and you just want to stop. It comes from different reasons. Me was injury after injury and not been able to play like you normally play few things happen on the side too it bring me in bad place in my head thanks God it’s all behind me.
My highs in football its trophies, I love winning trophies and in most clubs I’ve been from Hemel to Woking now I always went back home with something, collective trophies as leagues winner or play-off and individual trophies like player of the season. Its achievements who exciting me the most I can’t just play football like that with wanting nothing at the end.
In total you have played at several football clubs. At which club did you learned the most?
I learned at every club I’ve been to be honest and most of the time in a hard way. But at Barrow was my biggest improvement, I came from 2 leagues below from a team I was really settle and just got promoted to a team where I had to start everything back, a team with lot of experiences and I knew from day one I had a lot to learn if I wanted to do something. I was playing next to Danny Livesy, he helped me a lot, I did improve the most next to him, he showed me videos in training of things I could do better during the game. With him and the manager I learned a lot.
What do you want to do after your football career ?
After football it’s another chapter who open, I’m already doing and planning things, there is plenty things I want to do.
—- INTERVIEW ENDS —-
Fans reacted after seeing Havant & Waterlooville sign a former PSG youth defender…
you lot are defo going up
— tom (@01__TD) August 11, 2020
Good record last year! Looks to fit the hawks team perfect!
— Ryan Tee (@ryan_tee) August 11, 2020
Best non league CB, only God knows how you pulled that off
— Will ?? (@WillB_2003) August 11, 2020
Hard to see anyone stopping you next year with Poku and Moussa. Two of our best players last season.
— Daniel Roddy (@rodders6696) August 11, 2020
Dear lord, what a sad little life Doswell. You ruined my day completely so you could have Moussa & Poku. I hope you spend it on getting some lessons in grace and decorum because you have the grace of a reversing dump trunk without tyres on. Take your money and get off my property
— Charlie Poole (@Charliepoole94) August 11, 2020