“I’m the kind of player that looks good when the team does well,” Sissoko told CanPL.ca.
“I don’t have too many goals or assists, but if the team does well it’s good for me, and I’m happy to have my team. We did all this together and I’m thankful for them.”
Sissoko, 25, was one of many standouts on a remade Wanderers side that went from last place in 2019 to CPL finalists in 2020. The Mali-born midfielder was slick in the centre of the park, posting a league-best 91 per cent dribbling success rate while pressing with intensity in Halifax’s high press.
That success is not lost on Sissoko, a Montreal native who was being monitored by Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos. With his one-year deal with the Wanderers expiring, Sissoko explained other playing opportunities could be coming his way.
“I probably will have some opportunities for me from other teams,” Sissoko admitted. “I’ll just keep working and be ready for a new challenge. If I don’t, I will get back to the CPL.
“If it’s Whitecaps, so be it, but I’m not focused on only Whitecaps. After the Island Games I’ll likely have another team… so just need to keep working.”
Sissoko won the 2020 Lieutenant Governor Athletic Award as the U SPORTS male athlete of the year after leading the Montreal Carabins to a 9-1-2 record, and helping the team to the finals at the 2019 national championship tournament in his hometown of Montreal. He was also a key fixture in the Carabins’ national championship win (the first in the program’s history) in 2018.
One of several standout newcomers to this CPL season, Sissoko joined a Wanderers group with just seven returning players from 2019. Players both new and old got along with each other both on and off the pitch, according to the industrious midfielder.
“We were like friends that played together. We hung out (off) the pitch… there was a good personality with the team. All the players are brothers and it helps us build as a team. That was the key,” Sissoko offered.
“I tried to learn more about them and their lives when we were there. We are more than teammates – we’re like brothers.”
Whether Sissoko returns to Halifax in 2021 is still up in the air – it’s a long off-season, after all. Regardless of what happens, he has a strong connection to the club and players who, despite their spirited ten-match march to their first CPL Final, was vastly underrated by league observers ahead of the season.
“I think the team didn’t get enough credit. Coach (Stephen Hart) didn’t get enough credit,” Sissoko said.
“Players didn’t get enough credit. If you started to win games. They didn’t show us enough credit, in, you know, that’s not a problem for us. We just came and did the work.”