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22nd Mar 2022

Mali international hid identity as footballer – until family saw him on TV

Callum Boyle

His secret life is no more

A Mali international has revealed that he hid his identity as a footballer from his family – until they spotted him playing football on TV.

Ibrahima Kone, who also plays for French side Lorient, was his country’s top scorer at this year’s African Cup of Nations with three goals.

However, as reported by the Mirror, Kone was keen to keep his life as a footballer away from his family and therefore kept it as a secret for many years due to not performing well at school.

footballer hid identity family

Kone hid identity from family from an early age

“When I was little, I had to hide the fact that I was playing because things weren’t going too well at school,” he told Le Telegramme.

“At the time, I lied, saying that I was going to school, when instead I was playing football.

“A part of my family thought that I had fallen into crime.”

Kone said that despite his family hearing his name on the radio, they didn’t raise any suspicions, but first asked questions when seeing him play on TV for Malian side Club Olympique Bakamo FC.

“Once my family heard my name on the radio, they figured that there might be a lot of people called Ibrahima,” he explained.

“But when I started to play for the senior team at Club Olympique Bamako, where I was top scorer, they saw me on television.

“Apart from my mother who had left to live in Guinea, and a few friends, no-one in my neighbourhood knew I played football.

“Even my brother, who wanted me to continue my studies, or my Dad who was always travelling as a trader, were not up to date.”

Kone has made seven appearances for Lorient this season, scoring three goals for the club since joining from Norwegian side Sarpsborg 08 in January.

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