Hull City v West Bromwich Albion: Jean Michael Seri on why Hollywood storyline at AFCON has only left him wanting more

When (not if) they make the film of Ivory Coast's 2024 African Cup of Nations triumph, the part of Hull City midfielder Jean Michael Seri will be highly sought-after.

After losing their final group game 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea, the hosts faced elimination.

Left waiting to see if three points would scrape them through as one of the four best third-placed teams – they were the fourth best – they sacked coach Jean-Louis Gasset and put assistant Emerse Fae in charge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Seri was an unused substitute for every group game and admitted after the Equatorial Guinea loss retirement crossed his mind – "for five seconds". But Fae immediately restored him against Senegal, where he was man of the match.

Seri started and won every knockout tie (the first on penalties), including the final against Nigeria, who beat the Ivorians in the group.

"I thanked God, I said, 'Thank you Father, for all you did. We asked you and you gave us,'" he recalls.

It was a moment a 32-year-old footballer probably cannot top. Fortunately for the Tigers, who host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Seri is not wired that way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"What are you going to say? I've won AFCON in my country, that's it? No," he insists. "When the best things happen in life, keep going.

"I THANKED GOD": Jean Michael Seri after Ivory Coast's incredible Africa Cup of Nations victory"I THANKED GOD": Jean Michael Seri after Ivory Coast's incredible Africa Cup of Nations victory
"I THANKED GOD": Jean Michael Seri after Ivory Coast's incredible Africa Cup of Nations victory

"When a striker scores goals, he has more confidence to score again. It's not about, ‘I scored three goals in the previous game so if I don't score in the next game, it doesn't matter.’

"AFCON is done, finished. What is next? The challenge here. Promotion. That's it.

"After promotion, let's see what we can do in the Premier League.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
PROMOTION DREAM: Huddersfield Town midfielder Jean Michael SeriPROMOTION DREAM: Huddersfield Town midfielder Jean Michael Seri
PROMOTION DREAM: Huddersfield Town midfielder Jean Michael Seri

"Today is Thursday. We cannot think about what we're going to do on Friday. We have to think about what we are doing on Thursday – how we talk, how we speak about life, how we are as men.

"Then, when you go to sleep, think about what you did on Thursday – did I show love, did I show a good character, did I look after people? If not, Friday is coming."

It is not his only motivation. He admits he was too blinkered at the tournament to think about Hull but it was not true in reverse.

"It's not just a team, it's a family,” he says. "I expected the gaffer might send me a message but all my team-mates did, to tell me, 'We are with you, you can do it, go and get it.' Even the staff members.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Sometimes you don't believe you can do it but when you receive these messages, it changes your mind. I put this positivity in my mind.

"When I think about what they were doing at Hull, to be thinking about me, we were so connected. That's why I'm so focused to think about what I can do to help the team get to where it needs to be.

"We celebrated for two days and I had three days with my family but now it's Hull, Hull, Hull."

With reinforcements signed whilst he was away, the man who dictates the rhythm of Hull games is convinced they are heading for promotion. Winning 2-1 at Southampton on his return – the first time Hull have won three straight matches this season – only reinforced it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I'm happy to see the club knows exactly where it has to be," he says. "That's why they've brought these quality players in. You can see the difference.

"I'm happy to see Fabio (Carvalho, his title-winning team-mate at Fulham), Anass (Zaroury), such good players to help us play the way we play, technical players with ability.

"As I said to my team-mates before the (AFCON) final, 'Football is football, the same football we play every day, we just have to think about performance and the result will take care of itself.

"It's time to win four in a row."

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.