Haidara taking his next steps
The 23-year-old is continuing his development | Featuring primarily in central midfield under Marsch | “I want to help the team wherever possible”
Amadou Haidara is a hard worker, both on and off the pitch.
Up until the age of 18, Haidara was part of the internationally-known JMG Academy in his hometown of Bamoko, Mali. Stops at Liefering and Salzburg saw him continue his development, and he’s since become one of the top central midfielders in the Bundesliga with Leipzig.
A regular starter as well as a goalgetter?
Under Julian Nagelsmann, the 23-year-old featured both in defensive and attacking midfield. However, new RBL head coach Jesse Marsch has preferred to exclusively play Haidara as part of a central midfield pairing. ‘Doudou’ has started six of the seven league games so far this season as a central midfielder. Despite the more defensive-minded role he played last season, Haidara has been able to score two goals in 2021/22. He netted a crucial equaliser against Köln on matchday 5 (1-1), before also finding the back of the net against Hertha BSC the following matchday (6-0).
“Even if I didn’t play there much last season, I still know this position and the tactical aspects of it. I want to play where I can be the most help to the team, because that’s important in order to be able to win,” Haidara said about his role under Marsch. He commented on his goals, saying “I always want to improve, in attack as well. I’ve been able to take advantage of my chances in front of goal so far. I hope it continues like this.”
More challenges contested for Leipzig than his former clubs
Haidara made several appearances for Salzburg while playing in a similar position. He made his debut for Mali in 2017 while at the club, having won three titles in Austria.
While on loan at Liefering shortly after having left his home country, Haidara was already showcasing his attacking qualities. He netted just three minutes into his debut after having come off the bench, and also provided several assists in 2016/17.
Haidara then moved to Leipzig in 2019, and has gone on to make 93 competitive appearances for RBL (10 goals, 6 assists). After a strong first two campaigns, Haidara extended his contract with the Bulls in May, and will be at the club until 2025.
On the international stage, Mali look on track to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. They are currently top of qualifying Group D, having most recently beaten Kenya 1-0.
I always want to improve, in attack as well.
Ambitious goals with the Bulls
Haidara still has a lot he wants to achieve with RBL. That hasn’t changed this season, despite the tough start. “We didn’t get off to a great start this season, but we are constantly improving,” he said. “I want to help the team, so that we qualify for the Champions League again this season. However, that won’t be easy. We’re up against SC Freiburg next, which is a game that we really want to win.”
Victory this weekend would extend Leipzig’s winning run in the league to three games. If Haidara continues to play well, then there’s little in the way of him accomplishing the goals he has set, especially given how hard he works.
Football camps in his home country
Off the pitch, Doudou helps to support the less fortunate. Together with several other sponsors, he helps run summer football camps for children in his hometown of Bamako, Mali.
Earlier this year, the Mali international (22 caps) launched his own foundation, aimed at helping the less fortunate and at supporting youth football in Mali. The football camps were the foundation’s first big events, with more to come. “We will definitely do those again,” said Haidara.
We will definitely do those again.
Haidara wasn’t alone in hosting these camps, as his Mali teammates Hamari Traore and Diadie Samassekou also pitched in. Boubacar Diarra, the president of the Mali FA, as well as many national team coaches were also in attendance and spoke of their interest in the project.