On July 4, 2023, one of the brightest stars to come out of Africa in recent years, Adama Bojang, penned a five-year contract with French Ligue 1 side Stade De Reims. The signing was held in the presence of his agent Cherno Samba at the Cocoa Ocean Hotel in The Gambia. Also present were officials of Steve Biko Football Club. Mr. Samba flew into The Gambia on 30 June for a week to complete the necessary negotiations for the deal. However, since the deal was pending on him passing a medical examination, he had to wait on his French visa before he could travel to France.
Having arrived in France on Friday, the young boy completed the deal which was made official by Reims on Saturday. “This is the most important deal that I’ve ever negotiated for two reasons: I wanted the best possible sporting project for Adama as the best player to come out of Africa in recent years. Secondly for the fact that he is my compatriot and every Gambian had a keen interest in him, thus, there was a lot of pressure to get him a good deal,” a tearful Mr Samba told GFF Media.”
He continued: ”Stade de Reims is one of the most organised clubs in Europe and it is the collective decision of the player, his family, Steve Biko and the representatives that it is the best suited for his career development. There was so much interest in the signature of the player but most of the information written in the media weren’t true. However, as his representatives, knowing what is best for the player, we decided to stay mute and do not comment on all the rumours making the rounds so as not to jeopardise anything related to the negotiations.”
Mr Samba, a former England youth international before representing The Gambia at full international level, added that their primary objective was always to ensure that the interest of the player was put at the forefront of every negotiation, that was why they didn’t even get themselves involved in negotiations with some of the suitors because their offers do not represent the economic and sporting interest, they were looking for the player.
“As part of his deal, we’re able to negotiate one of the best deals for a player coming out of Africa in terms of salary and other benefits. He was also paid a signing-on bonus by the club, something on heard of from a player coming out of The Gambia. He will receive other bonus payments by reaching specific targets included in the contract and with the talent that this boy has, they’re very much achievable,” Samba, an English coaching A License holder, who now turns in player representative stated further. “I’m also pleased to announce that we were able to negotiate and agreed a brand sponsorship deal for the boy. He signed a three-year boot sponsorship deal with German sportswear manufacturer, Adidas. Both signings were done on the same day. The reason for us to opt for a shorter contract is that Adama is going to be a world star in no time and you don’t want to tie him to a longer contract that would put him at an economic disadvantage that suits his status. We have also negotiated for Adama to be supported by his family to help his integration into a new culture. Thus, his parents will later join him in France, allowing him the opportunity to be with loved ones while he begins his professional career.”
The president of The Gambia Football Federation (GFF), Lamin Kaba Bajo, described the deal as another milestone achievement for the domestic Gambian league, and the overall growth of our football in the past eight years. He further highlighted the fact that several Gambian footballers, mainly those from our domestic league, have signed professional contracts in the current transfer window. “We’ve invested a lot of our time, energy and resources into the development of Gambian football and the results have been clear for everyone to see. With the figures that I’m told by people involved in the negotiation of Adama’s transfer to Stade de Reims, I think we can be proud of ourselves that a player coming directly from the Gambian league was able to get such financial and sporting benefits,” Mr. Bajo told the GFF Media.“We’ve also seen the majority of our national U-20 players that participated in this year’s Afcon and the Fifa World Cup have turned professional and almost 90% of these players were playing in the Gambian league prior to those competitions. Thus, I’m urging the upcoming stars to dream big and be determined that they too can make it and we have very good conditions now for them to succeed.”
For his part the GFF 1st VP and Head of Delegation to the Under-20 Team Bakary K Jammeh expressed delight over the move. “We are all happy that Adama moved directly to the French Lique 1 Club Stade de Reims. This shows that Adama is a special talent and also the gigantic strives our football has taken. We wish him well and I believe many more young Gambian Footballers will follow suit in the coming years”.
Adama Bojang who was a runner up in the race to the golden boot during the Afcon (4-goals) and staggering goals and performance in the world cup and have his jersey in the Fifa museum (for the first time ever) will wear the number 27 jersey at Reim who finished in 11th in the French Ligue 1 last season. The new campaign will begin this weekend and Adama would hope to hit the ground running when he is given his opportunity.