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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Fortune FC, the story of a champion A Farato experiment became national league champions in nine years

On the 7 December 2012, a young entrepreneur took the bold decision to establish a football club and named it after his father’s petrol station, Fortune Petroleum Company Limited.  Nine years later, the team metamorphosed to become a champion of the Gambia national football league, surprising the nation and even themselves.

Driven by his undiluted passion for football Assan Ndure, believed setting up a football team would complete his own personal ambition to achieve something in the game.

Assan himself forayed into the game in 2003 as a player at the Barra Football Academy, under the tutelage of founder Jane Joof the coach who, as fate would have it, led Fortune FC to the title this year.  The two men would meet later after Assan prematurely hanged his boot after a spell at Farato, playing for Chanters FC to concentrate on his father’s business.

When ‘Chanters” split as a team Assan encouraged and persuaded players from Barra and in the West Coast Region to form a nawetan team in Farato and named it Fortune FC, after his Fortune Petroleum company.

The team started with a bang, winning everything on stage in Farato within a year before moving to successfully complete the nawetan qualifiers in Brikama.

This marked the beginning of the tale of success for Fortune because within a year, the team conquered the Brikama nawetan winning both the league and knock-out trophies, in addition to the super cup that opened the following season. In the second year, 2015, Fortune finished as runners up in the league, narrowly loosing the final to Fabou FC.

At this stage, Abdoukarim Sey, the then president of West Coast Regional Football Association who observed the potentials of the team convinced Assan to register the team in the 2015-16 West Coast Regional Third Division qualifiers.

“I saw the vision and ambition in Assan so I advised him to register the team knowing that the third division league will be a good route for them to reach the level he desire in national football, ” Mr. Sey said.

Typically, instant success is now common at Fortune and so the team beat a large field to win the regional league in 2016 losing only one match thereby securing a right to play in the Second Division. Jane Joof who coached young Assan at his academy back in Barra abandoned his first Division team to coach Fortune FC.

“I can’t leave these boys alone, so I have to come and help them”, Jane Joof once commented after winning a peace tournament in 2016. 

Fortune’s campaign in the 2017-18 GFF Division Two league was however marked by some bad experience for Coach Jane Joof who was handed a thirteen-match ban. Undeterred by that, the team continued its progressive path to finish second in the league, qualifying them to a triangular play-off which they won to step in the GFF First Division League in the 2018-19 season.

Fortune FC had a breathtaking start to life in the top football league in the country and finished the first season among the top five.

In the following season, the team took a step up on the table and ended the season in 4th position. The season after that was abandoned, undermined due to the Covid pandemic, thus the 2020-21 season can be considered as the Fortune’s third season in the league, and in which the team landed the coveted national title, a milestone that changed and shaped the history of football in The Gambia.

Financed by its CEO, Assan S. Ndure, the team has now clinched nine trophies in its nine years of existence and supplied a gallery of players to The Gambia National Under 17, 20 and 23 teams in addition to helping others secure professional contracts.

Currently, Fortune FC is now working hard to climb another ladder, the Caf Champions League and with the zeal and determination of CEO Assan Ndure and the consummating coaching skills of Jane Joof, the sky is the limit for Fortune FC.

Source: Courtesy of Fortune FC Communication Unit led by Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

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