Deaf from birth, Lamin and Bubacarr Bayo developed an ambition to play football at an early age. As teenagers from the same Mom and Dad, they dreamt of playing in the country’s National Deaf football team.
Born and raised in the bustling town of Latrikunda, they grew up playing in teams of hearing teammates. Communication was often difficult for Lamin and Bubacarr in a hearing team. Yet, they’ve learned a lot and now they’re playing in the National Deaf Scorpions team. ‘’I grew up competing with able-hearing people in my area, Lamin tells The Chronicle through an interpreter. ‘’Everyone in the team supported me despite the fact that some of them had never met a deaf footballer before, he said.
‘’I always backed myself to make it on my own merits and never saw my deafness as something that would hold me back in any facet of my life.
For Lamin who’s a goalkeeper, growing up playing with hearing teams has made things a little different. ‘’I had to display more resilience than even some of them in the field just to catch-up. ‘’The good thing is, they’ve accepted me for who I am and that makes me feel comfortable, he said.
While at Primary School, Lamin and Bubacarr continued playing football and in 2004, Lamin joined the National Deaf Scorpions team, paving the way for his midfield brother Bubacarr who joined four years later. ‘’I always dreamt of making it to the top level in football and deafness would never prevent me from getting there. ‘’It was something that was built in me at a very young age by my parents, they always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, whether it was a footballer or a teacher, Lamin tells The Chronicle.
Both Lamin 27 and Bubacarr 20 years old, have their eyes on winning the Deaf African Cup of Nation for the Gambia. ‘’My main target now is helping my country win the Deaf African Cup of nations, says Bubacarr. ‘’We have the team to do it and I am quite optimistic we will one day bring the trophy into the country.”