The Senegalese Premiere League has been a blessing for young Gambian footballers who look for better opportunities outside the frontiers of The Gambia. Of late, the domestic league in the neighbouring country has been a population destination for the players, a good number coming from top tier Gambian sides.
In the bustling city of Rufisque, located 25 kilometers southeast of Dakar, three Gambian footballers are doing it big with the city’s pride, Teungueth F.C.
“It feels good to be here. The fans are amazing,” says Madi Fatty, one of the three. The former Serrekunda United and Real de Banjul striker joined Teungueth F.C in 2018. “Since I came here, I have realized huge changes in my career,” he tells The Chronicle. “I have improved in speed and pace which is essential for me as an attacker thanks to the coaches here.”
Madi has been sensational so far this season. He is currently the team’s top goal scorer with six goals in 17 league matches, a feat he credited the team management for. “I want to thank the club management for their support. They’ve been giving me everything I need to have to fight for the team.”
Among Madi’s biggest fans is the President of the club, Babacarr Ndiaye.
“He has all the qualities a striker needs to succeed in any league. He has really impacted on the league. Many strikers in the competition admire his style of play,” he says.
Ndiaye says the club is planning to get Madi and the two other Gambian players transferred to bigger clubs in Europe.
One of them is Gibril Sillah, a former Samger and Fortune FC left winger considered by many Senegalese football fans as the youngest top player in the league. His technical abilities and flair on the pitch made fans’ favourite. The 20-year-old recently returned to Senegal from trial with French club Toulouse where he hopes to make the big move soon.
“The Senegalese league has impacted positively on my career. It is tough and competitive,” Sillah tells The Chronicle. “I feel like home here. Everyone in the team make life easy for me. I want to thank my mother who’s supporting me very well in career. I promise to make her proud one day.”
Abdoulaye Diop, a Senegalese Sport Journalist with Teungueth Info describes Gibril as a complete player who outrageously outpace and outshines his opponent with cheeky ease. “He is just good. He is skillful and technical and he gives lot of trouble to defenders here. I hope lot of youngsters in the league look up to him.”
The third Gambian player in the books of Teungueth FC is Saihou Conteh. The versatile full-back player played for The Gambia U20 side and also had a short spell in the Egyptian premier league. He sees the Senegalese league as “a stepping stone for Gambian players which it propels us to bigger clubs around the world he said.”
“It’s a complete different league from the one in The Gambia. It is a professional league that makes it tough for defenders,” says Saihou.
His hope is to develop himself in the Senegalese league and then head to Europe to play for bigger clubs.
Teungueth F.C currently sits 5th with 30 points in the 14-team Senegalese Premiere League.
In the past, some young Gambian footballers went on to play in Europe through Senegalese leagues and football academies.