Recruited by Le Mans after two seasons at PSG, striker Kévin Yoke (24) has just scored his first goal in his new colors.
Passed by PSG as an amateur, Kévin Yoke will play at Le Mans (N1) this season. A new challenge for the 24-year-old left winger, who scored against Auxerre last week. He aims to help the Sarthois club return to Ligue 2 from next season.
You scored your first goal last week against Auxerre, how are you doing right now?
Kevin Yoke: Everything is going very, very well. There is a good group. We work well and I am very happy. The president (Thierry Gomez), the coach (Didier Ollé-Nicolle), all the staff and the sports director allowed me to join Le Mans FC for this season. My adjustment went well, I immediately felt comfortable.
What are you going to bring to Le Mans?
My freshness, my technique and my liveliness on the side to get danger and be decisive. After that, I still have things to learn. That’s another level. I have to improve the defensive and offensive transitions. I’m learning with the coach. He asks me to be fairer in my choices. We must not make mistakes in the realms of truth. We have no right to make mistakes and it will come a little later. I already discover that I have come a long way. I arrive faster in the box, and against Auxerre it paid off.
You were at PSG the last two years, in R1, N2 and then N3. What are you taking away from this experience?
PSG is PSG. I learned together with very good players (Yaisien, Hemans, Epaillard …). I developed technically and tactically, especially since I initially came with the R1 team, even though my goal was to go up to National 2. Coach Carlos (De Vasconcelos) saw my qualities and he thought I had the level to go over. He did not make a mistake. I joined the N2 which was run at the time by Leeroy Echteld and Hervé Guégan. They have given me a lot. I made a few entries before I started a game against Granville and scored. After that, I did not move. I was starting until the end of the season.
“PSG wanted me to sign a professional contract, but …”
Is the string stronger at Le Mans, which comes down from Ligue 2?
Their goal is to get up. From there, the demand for results is higher, even though we with the PSG reserve had the goal of not going down and showing that we were PSG. For me, everything went well there until there were problems. After my first year, they wanted me to sign a professional contract for one year, but I never got the offer. The reserve was dissolved with Antero Henrique. Pro contracts were terminated, players must leave. The same applies to buses and staff. We were surprised. And frankly, at first I was disappointed. I found it unfair. My head was elsewhere and I did not want to hear about football anymore.
Did you hold it against the leaders?
I was especially angry at Antero Henrique. We all wanted to know why he made the decision to remove the N2. And why now! We had answers, I cleared my head for a while, and today it’s behind me. Coach Carlos (De Vasconcelos) motivated me. My new advisors, who have worked in professional clubs, have also guided me on my choices. I could count on the support of my family, and especially my father who has followed me from the beginning. It was a ordeal to go through, as there is plenty in football. I resumed with National 3 with the idea that I will start higher at the end of the season.
It was not until last season [4 buts, 7 passes décisives] that Le Mans saw you?
The President (Thierry Gomez) came and watched National Matches 2. That was where he saw me. He had liked the profile. So this season, he talked to my advisors. He was convinced of the idea of taking me in, and I myself was glad to know that he wanted me to sign for Le Mans. Although I had other suggestions in France and abroad, I was seduced by his speech, the stadium and the club’s facilities, which for me are at Ligue 1 level.
What can we wish for you this season?
To go through the matches, be effective and help Le Mans get back to Ligue 2. We know what we have to do if we want to go to the end.
Interview with Benjamin Quarez