The following interview by Jamie Megarry of official Linfield media with Bastien Hery was in the Linfield programme for today’s postponed game against Larne.
Although the programme will go on sale on the rescheduled date of the fixture, the interview features largely on the excitement Bastien felt at his international call up for the Madagascar team and so this article is provided here now, by way of explanation of the circumstances of how the unexpected call up came about.
Unfortunately for Bastien and the rest of his international team mates the games referred to against the Ivory Coast have been put back to a later as yet unconfirmed date.
Bastien Hery - by Jamie Megarry
Linfield midfielder Bastien Hery is set to join a long list of past and present Blues players to perform on the International stage. Hery, from Paris, tells ‘Look at Linfield’ how he’s ended up getting a call-up for the Madagascar national team.
“I am excited and it was great news to receive. I can’t wait to go over there and hopefully I’ll get some game time for Madagascar. I am hoping to impress so that they’ll have me back in future. Once you get an international call-up, the hardest part is then to stay in the squad and team.
“It’s quite complicated. I played for the French underage international teams, but my great, great grandad is from Madagascar, so they’d been on checking out the possibility of me playing for them. I was able to inform them that I did indeed have some blood from Madagascar and from then, it was a case of signing a lot of paperwork, sending birth certificates of me and my dad, and thankfully, everything went through in the end to enable me to play.”
Madagascar – also known as ‘The Barea’ - are set to take on the Ivory Coast in a double header.
“Madagascar are a nation on the up. The last African Cup of Nations tournament was their first ever involvement and they reached the quarter-final stage. Now we want to improve again and get better. I know a few of their players, I have met a few but that was just from saying hello when our paths crossed in the past.
“I think the Ivory Coast matches will be good games and a really good test for myself and Madagascar. They have some great players. At the end of the day it’s just a 90 minute game of football, anything can happen. We are top of the group at present with two wins from two so far. There are four games remaining, so we want to grab some points to help us qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations.”
The AFCON qualifying matches take place on Friday, March 27 in Abidjan, and Tuesday, March 31, in Antananarivo. Speaking about the possibility of having to miss a crucial League fixture, Bastien concedes that would be a disappointment.
“That would be unfortunate, but I know the boys will give one hundred percent. We now have seven League fixtures left and I feel we have nothing to fear. When I am away with Madagascar, I will definitely be keeping a close eye to see how things are going back here.
“It’s been a good season, but it’s been long. When I came to Linfield I had played six months of competitive football already, so I haven’t had a break from it since January 2018. It’s been enjoyable and interesting, learning a different style of football here and a different culture. At the moment we are top of the table and we had a wonderful run in Europe, so I am enjoying every moment playing for Linfield.”
The 27 year-old returned to the starting eleven last week in a 2-0 win in Carrickfergus following an injury to Stephen Fallon. Fallon’s excellent form has left Hery on the bench for a large part of the past few months, but Bastien suggests the rest has helped him.
“I think I needed a rest after playing so many games, but now I’m back. It was great for me to play 90 minutes away to Carrick Rangers last week and we got the three points. I fully believe next season I am capable of going up another level, if I get a good rest after the season finishes. I intend on recharging the batteries and going back at it, one hundred percent.
“I want to win the League. That’s why I signed for Linfield. This is a big, big club with such history of winning. I haven’t won a title before. When I was at Rochdale we got promoted from League Two to League One but we finished third, so winning a title is something I am hungry to achieve. Added motivation is the fact we went so close to reaching the Europa League group stages last summer. That was an unbelievable run and all the players dream of doing it again, and winning a League would give us a better opportunity to do that.”
Best wishes from everyone at Linfield go to the stylish midfielder ahead of his International debut, and of course for the climax to the season where he hopes to land his first taste of title success.
By Jamie Megarry