The Chronicle Gambia

Life After the Final Whistle- Michael Demba, Former Saraba Mesmeric Winger

Saraba FC in 1982. Michael Demba 3rd from right on the bottom row

As a teenager, Michael Demba was tipped to be a great footballer. Quick, direct, and someone who liked to stretch opposing defenses both from a horizontal and a vertical perspective, was born and raised in Siffoe, Kombo South where his career with the village’s junior team started.

‘’I started playing football when I was very young, he tells The Chronicle. ‘’Football was all that I wanted to do, and I enjoyed doing it whilst growing up.

As a youngster, Michael would play with his friends on the dusty, rocky streets of Siffoe where his hunger and desire for football started.’Growing up playing football in Siffoe was enjoyable, he said.’The fans liked me so much, I was a good dribbler and when you are a good dribbler you attract people and they like you for that”.

As a student at Saint Augustine’s High School in Banjul, Mickey B, as he’s fondly called, played for the school’s football team. Upon graduation in 1986, he played for 1st Division side Young Africans where he became a fan’s favorite despite his brief stint with the team. ‘’I left Young Africans because the then GFA decentralized football and added some Nawettan teams into the first division to make it more competitive, so I had to quit Young African for Saraba in Brikama”, he told The Chronicle.

In 1982, Michael debuted for Saraba against Dragons at the Box Bar football grounds in Brikama. That was a good game for the young attacker after a nervy start. He recalls: “I played my heart out on that night. The football field was full to capacity and I was just on top of everything”.

Solo Badjie, an admirer of Michael, described him as an intelligent player. “He has the ability to tear opposing defenders to pieces”, Solo tells The Chronicle. “He has a great vision, he’s clever with the ball and always wants to win”.

While with Saraba, Michael remained a remarkably quick as well as tricky dribbler. His biggest career highlight came in 1986 during a league match against Dragons at the Box Bar mini stadium in Brikama. With his pace, power and technical prowess, he was the undisputed best player for Saraba on that day. ‘’I will never forget that game,” he said. 

‘’My passes were all accurate, I was just on top of the game”, he says. ‘’The fans were singing amazing songs and that kept reenergizing me, I miss the fans of Saraba”. 

In 1992, Michael retired from football. His last game for Saraba was against Real de Banjul at the Independence Stadium. “That game gave me mixed feelings,” he recalls. “I thought I should give a chance to the young players coming up and concentrate on other things. I think I gave all I could to my team, Saraba”.

Michael in the studio

He currently works as a Disk Jockey (DJ) as the host of the “Music Factory” show at West Coast Radio. 

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