On an open basketball court in Jarra Soma, Lower River Region, Fatoumatta Jarjussey wears an NBA jersey and tries to jump-shot and attack. A point-guard, she was inspired to try her hand in basketball when she watched a group of her friends showcase their talents at the Soma Basketball court.
Currently in grade 12, Fatoumatta started playing basketball at the age of 16. However, four years into the game, she diligently practices the sport with the dream of one day becoming a professional player, and uses the few training programs available in Jarra Soma to help hone her skills. “Every day I come here to join my friends for training”, Fatoumatta tells The Chronicle in Soma.
“I want to improve my defensive abilities, better communicate with my teammates and better understand the game,” adds the young player who, of course, wants has her sights set on the League. “My dream is to play in the WNBA,”she says. “My coach teaches us to play faster and better, every training session makes me feel like I am getting closer to reaching my dream.”
Fatoumatta’s wish is to see the sport grow in popularity like football across her region to help nurture many undiscovered talents. “Many young girls are now building interest in basketball in Soma,” she said. “But we need organized league competitions, a better training court and ball.”
“I am thankful to my coach who really helped me improve on my skills and also my teammates who have been helping each other during practice and games.”
The administration of Gambian basketball has been in the doldrums for the past two years and Fatou is hoping for changes. “We expect to have a competent and vibrant national basketball association that would promote the sport across the regions in this country. I hope the new leadership will have plans for us because we have so many talented youngsters in Soma.”