Except for cataclysm during the last day of Ligue 2, Clermont Foot Auvergne should for the first time in its history move up to Ligue 1. If this rise is above all the work of a collective, it also bears the imprint of Mohamed Bayo, top scorer in Ligue 2. A look back at the eruption of a volcano which began to tremble in the North, near Dunkirk in the National.
Clermont is bubbling. It is not yet official, but after the draw between Toulouse and Pau (2-2), the Auvergnats are a microscopic hair’s breadth away from joining Ligue 1 for the first time in their history. After several years of having touched the top of French football, the black diamond is about to appear on the map of the top 20 French clubs. And to do this, the squad of 63 put their heart to work.
Bolts tight behind (best defense in Ligue 2 with 23 goals conceded), a thunderous offensive armada (3rd best attack in the Championship with 60 goals scored), and an attractive game under the leadership of coach Pascal Gastien, who knew how to find the perfect balance. The 57-year-old technician was able to count within his ranks on a phenomenon that surprised his world: Mohamed Bayo.
A pure Clermont product, the 23-year-old walks on the water for his first full season in the jersey of his favorite club. A fate that was not necessarily attributed to him very young.
The club kid
In a way, Mohamed Bayo shone from his debut at CF63. Not necessarily for his football. ” At a very young age he already had a nice ball, a very shiny skull, we all upset him in relation to that “, laughs Canteen Chastang, midfielder of Moulins-Yzeure (N2) who rubbed shoulders with the striker of his arrival starting from the beginning until its integration into the pro group.
.Very quickly in love with the round ball, the kid from the Gauthière district took his first license at the club at 6 years old. “ From U14, he did not always play in the first teams because he came to football to have fun, without putting himself under pressure. There was also some training missing.
But when he did play he was clearly above the rest. He took the ball and he could dribble everyone», Adds his former teammate. Without necessarily being considered as a nugget of the training center, the player will completely change status when arriving in U19 National.
In addition to undeniable technical ease, the Clermontois has for him incredible endurance and a good burst of speed. Qualities that he puts to good use both on the right side, his real position, and at the forefront of the attack. “During the U19 season, it is the player who marked the Championship by his performances and his goals. It was like a revelation. In the first leg, he was able to make the difference by his quality of elimination, and then he was already a good scorer.
On the return matches, the teams knew Momo was capable of making the difference so it was complicated, he often had two or even three players on his back sometimes. The teams knew that we had a good player capable of playing in front or on the side, ”explains Alexis Charveys, a midfielder trained in Clermont and now at AS Saint-Priest (N2).
On the strength of his fine performances and the “ pretty carnivals ” achieved, this great competitor, who “ always refuses defeat», Stands out as a technical leader and aims to reach professionals. He sees his goal approaching when he is one of the few young people kept to evolve in N3 with the reserve. Before finally joining the pro group and signing his first professional contract in 2017.
The same year, he played his first professional minutes in the Coupe de France during the defeat against Yzeure (1-0) in November. But barred by competition in Ligue 2 the following season, the player has no choice but to go on loan to gain experience
A successful apprenticeship in National
The direction the third level and Dunkirk, more than 400 km from a native land that he is leaving for the first time. A decisive decision according to Cantyn Chastang: “ I think it was the best thing for him to leave far from Clermont. It was like a breath of fresh air. It was hard on his mother (to whom he is extremely close, Editor’s note).
But on the field, he played liberated. I think subconsciously he was putting a lot of pressure on himself in his hometown. His success in National was a click. ”. Bayo arrives in the North at mid-season, in a young group but in crisis because of the struggle for maintenance. Not enough to delay his integration according to Alexis Calant, former defender of Dunkirk today in Louvière in Belgium.
“It went very well straight away. We quickly saw in training that he would bring a lot to the team because he had a lot of desire and talent. He had no problem integrating himself and making his place. ”
This is even simpler than the Puydômois lodger and is focused on fun, a personality who has brought Yvann of Bricklayers and central defender. During this half of the season, the player loaned by Clermont participates in the maintenance by playing 10 matches and scoring twice.
“ His statistics do not reflect what he brought us on the ground, continues his former partner. He was thirsty, he spent a lot of energy in front and tired the defenses”. These past six months were only the beginnings of a breathtaking season, both for Dunkirk and for Auvergnat.
Aware of the qualities of the player, Claude Robin, the coach of the USDL, is forcing to extend his loan for a season. It took him well. In the following exercise, the striker scored 12 goals and delivered 5 assists in 24 appearances. The northerner training is then second at the end of the Championship and validates its rise in Ligue 2. Historic. “ He gained confidence then put in the goals, multiplied the performances of very high level.
Momo is a trustworthy person and the coach quickly gave him confidence in DunkirkCalant adds. In Clermont, his season did not go unnoticed and convinced the club that the boy had the level to evolve higher, in Ligue 2.
The eruption in Ligue 2
And that’s good because, in the metropolis of Arverne’s, the hired scorer Adrian Grbic packed up to discover Ligue 1 with Lorient. The center forward had scored 17 goals the previous season, almost half of the squad. If to replace him, the club chaired by Ahmet Schaefer decides to enlist Jordan Tell, it is Mohamed Bayo who will wonderfully take over from the Austrian on the attack front.
Substitute at the start of the season, he takes advantage of the injury of the former Rennais to gain his place as the holder. And never let go of her again. 37 matches played during which the guy of 1m89 will score 21 goals. Better than Grbic last season. “ At the beginning, I said to myself: ‘He’s a hot guy (speaking of Adrian Grbic, Editor’s note), But then I didn’t focus on that, I told myself that I have to play like I know how to do.
I put all the means on my side to ensure that it goes well and in the end, it works well so I’m happy, ”he confided to RMC Sport at the beginning of March. Without pressure, the striker offers a flow of pawns, including a hat-trick against Valenciennes in October (1-3) and another, against his former teammates from Dunkirk in January (5-0), registered in just 13 minutes! The rash has started.
“I don’t think we’ve finished hearing about Momo Bayo!”
In full confidence after a loan which was fundamentally beneficial to him, and well surrounded, Mohamed Bayo is the symbol of a team that is doing very well offensively and constitutes the tip of a thunderous trident completed by Jodel Dossou (12 goals, 2 assists) and Jim Allevinah (12 goals, 6 assists), and fueled by playing master Jason Berthomier (6 goals, 10 assists).
Offensive teammates with whom he gets along wonderfully, attest to his seven distilled offerings. His performances logically prompted Didier Six, coach of Guinea, to summon him for the first time on March 11 against Mali (1-0).
More recently, he was nominated for the trophy for best player in Ligue 2. At only 22 years old, the Guinean seems to climb the ranks at an impressive speed, which does not surprise Alexis Calant: “ He is huge this year but I do not.
am not surprised because we had seen his qualities in Dunkirk and we knew very well that he could do great things in Clermont! Given the rage to win he has and his determination, I think we have not finished hearing about Momo Bayo! “. Before moving on to an anecdote that sums up the character well during his visit to Dunkirk.
“Momo was able to fall asleep indoors before a workout or even in the van heading to workout in the morning to take a nap to get in shape. It was five minutes away but he was sleeping. Then five minutes later, he was in great shape and was going to dribble everyone on the pitch. ” After many naps, the volcano seems wide awake.
And ready to make the lava flow in Ligue 1. In Clermont or elsewhere. The question will naturally arise. But let him enjoy it. He is, with his teammates, writing one of the most beautiful pages in the history of Auvergne sport.