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Mayotte: Humble electrician plays in French Cup semi-final!

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JEFF PACHOUD/AFP or licensors


Residents of the small French town Rumillly are a-buzz with tonight's football match as their 4th division amateur team plays Monaco -- and its roster of international stars, in the French Cup semi-final.

Rumilly-Vallières has reached this level of the competition for the first time, relying on a talented and united group, such as defender from Mayotte.

Mahoran Houssame Boinali is an electrician by trade but he has not let his newfound football stardom go to his head.

"You keep your feet on the ground, I'm not in a state of euphoria. I am not at home watching it on TV all the time. There are colleagues who tease me a bit about being a star or whatever, we see your poster everywhere... But when I'm at work, I'm at work."

- Day jobs -

The majority of the Rumilly-Vallieres players have day jobs, with centre-back Jean-Manuel Ribeiro working in a bank and midfielder Stephane Viglierchio working six days a week at a dairy with shifts starting at 5:30 am.

The dairy, which produces well-known regional cheeses like Reblochon and Emmental, is run by Luc Chabert, one of four joint-presidents of the football club.

Boinali remains focused on his day job even though he knows he is about to experience an extraordinary match -- arguably one of the biggest and most exciting moments of his life, thus far.

"In the semi-final of the French Cup... unbelievable, unbelievable. All the matches were very difficult, very different. But the emotions heighten each time, they rise. But here we have reached a stage where for me personally, it's unbelievable what we're experiencing, the whole community, the whole club, the staff. "

Rumilly-Vallieres do however boast players with experience of the top-level, including defender Dorian Leveque, who played in Ligue 1 and won the Cup with Guingamp in 2014.

And they can take inspiration from the success enjoyed in the French Cup by other minnows in recent years: third-tier sides Quevilly and Les Herbiers have both reached the final in the last decade, while the amateurs of Calais got to the final in 2000.

Away from the fairytale of Rumilly-Vallieres, PSG's tie against Montpellier has taken on added importance for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

The Cup could now be their best remaining chance to end the season with a trophy as they sit three points behind Ligue 1 leaders Lille with two games left, following their elimination from the Champions League in the semi-finals.

The semi-final will be played in the evening in the neighbouring town of Annecy. 

Alongside Mahoran Houssame Boinali, Rummily-Vallière will be able to count on its two DRCongolese strikers, Moke Nkedi and Liongo Aduma, to create a surprise and take on Neymar and Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain in the final. Boinali and his teammates have the right to dream.

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