By Modou Lamin Beyai
Gambian winger Kekuta Manneh said he is delighted to join a winning team in Columbus Crew after joining the Major League Soccer club on Thursday.
The Bakau-born forward, who is a new high-profile acquisition for Columbus, was introduced at halftime in the club’s 2-0 win over Orlando City on Sunday after he joined them from MLS rivals Vancouver Whitecaps.
The 22-year-old has now expressed his excitement at joining The Black & Gold and said he’s looking forward to his future with the club. “Columbus is a team that I have admired from afar,” Manneh said. “They score lots of goals every single game. I watch their games and it’s always a thriller.”
“For me as an attacking player, it’s always exciting coming to a club that plays attacking football and they score a lot of goals and create a lot of chances. I want to be a part of that.”
The Crew’s new number 19 added: “I can’t wait to see that stadium full. It’s an amazing stadium. It’s a winning team. Everybody wants to win. I was watching their last game against Portland Timbers and just the way the players carry themselves and their will to win was very impressive to me, and I want to be a part of that and going forward I want to be there to help them achieve their goals.”
Since joining the MLS in 2013, Manneh said it has been everything he dreamed of and more. He said he couldn’t wait to share his experience with his new team.
“It was very exciting when I got going with training and playing week in and week out,” he said. “I’m really excited to have had that experience with Vancouver and now with Columbus Crew SC as well.”
The former Steve Biko and Texas Rush winger is in his fifth MLS season and has made 101 regular season appearances (62 starts) while scoring 22 goals and contributing 12 assists for the Whitecaps.
He was also the youngest player in the MLS history to score a hat trick, as an 18-year-old. He is known for his speed and agility and he said he thinks his versatility, as an athlete, will help him adapt quickly to his new team.
Kekuta is one of 10 picks who Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi selected as the most promising youngsters in the world.
As part of the campaign, Manneh will be wearing the brand new Messi-branded Adidas boots and apparel worn by the Argentina international.