By Tijan Masanneh Ceesay The President of the National Table Tennis Association Peter Prom is by far the most accomplished former athlete residing on Gambian soil today because of his accolade as an international in at least three disciplines, starting in Libya in 1977/78 in the African Lawn Tennis championship. Born to a family of humility, sports and academia the young Peter Pan as he was known growing up started exhibiting stardom at a tender age at the renowned St. Joseph’s (KG V) at Banjul’s Bayeh Halfdie. They were not good at all, but one player who always outshined the opposition was Peter Prom. He would be the first to agree with me that his Primary School career was disappointing, but then came the Irish Man from Kilkenny, Joseph Anthony Gough to St. Augustine’s High School. Fr. Gough would later tell me many years after, that “Peter Prom was the only star of his to ever make the starting Eleven well before he sat down in a classroom in September of 1974.” Nobody knows talent better than Joe Gough who used to sneak into the KGV to watch Peter play for KG. Well, the rest is history. His first year in the junior team, he played under Pa Amadou Jallow as captain and they went on to win all High Schools competitions for several years with Peter as leading goal scorer. He also suited up for the senior team alongside big brother Jabel. Even at that age, I watched Peter destroy every player before him with those tiny feet covered by Gola boots.. By his second year in High School, Peter was captain of the junior team alongside great names like Ibrahima Garba Jahumpa (Ice), Dox Hydara, Lamin Barrow, Mass from Half Die, Emmanuel Emmbaga (Goalie), Saul Jagne, Charlie Samba and Salifu Camara. In all the years he was captain, Peter was equally both leading goal scorer and the MVP and I even saw him kept post in a penalty shoot out against Saint Peters High School when he proved the savior that day. Peter was also the table tennis captain for the school and I remember with great nostalgia, when he dethroned the country’s national champion at the time, Boy Conteh (who also was Peter’s elder brother’s best friend) the distance in a championship match. That was the day the whole country was put on notice that the kid named Peter Pan was something special. Peter was born into a family with a rare combination, academia and sports. His lovely mother, the late Mrs. Mary Ellen Prom, was one of the best teachers in The Gambia while his late Father, Uncle Louis Prom (Kajack) was one of the football ambassadors of our country. He was the founder of the great Augustinians that featured the likes of Biri, George Furmose Gomez, Taflanda Roberts, Solomon Gomez (Garincha), Moses Trinn, Danny Njie, Sholay Sock, Gabriel Watermann Gomez, Yuku Sylva, Remi and Pa Sarr, Petersen Sarr, Nai Ceesay, Elliot, Leon Prom, August Prom, Joko Bell, Congolese ah day for shoot, Alagie Babou Sowe, Dalasi and many more. Uncle Louis was also the first groundskeeper of the Football Association and played a key role in the formation of The Gambia Football Association in 1951. For the young Peter Prom, growing up in this unique setting paved the way and set the stage for stardom. In his formative years, he had no choice but follow the family tradition to play in for Augustinians and yes, the Football Association was taken by surprise. This new Prom gem soon became a pillar to the junior national team as captain and today, he goes down as the only football captain of our national teams that never once lost a game in a three year span. .As a midfielder for both the national team and his club, Peter is by far the smartest and most skillful to ever play the position. There was no one person who could stop him. When he played goals rained. He scored in every game, but one I remember most and can still relive was against the mighty Real De Banjul when Peter and his team eliminated the latter in an FA Cup knock out game. Batty Smart had stolen a loose ball from Garba Touray and with his speed and was on an all out counter attack mode with every player on the Real team retreating. Batty sent a cross from the left side of the field (Primet Street Goal). The ball was right in front of Peter, just when the Real midfielders thought the kid was going to control the ball. Alast, Peter dramatically lifted the ball with his right foot much to amazement of the Real who could not stop and they raced toward their goal the ball was already in the net as Peter has already turned to use his lethal left. There was nobody at Box Bar Stadium expecting that move including Real Keeper Papa Njie. It was a rare one and a thing of beauty and more than three decades later it can still described as a great goal. Like Bai Malleh Wadda and Aziz Corr, Peter Prom too is one of the youngest to suit up for the national team. In the junior national team, he was a fierce warrior and a great leader who led by example. In his last game against the Young Dessert Fox of Algeria, the head coach of that team would to the Gambian press that he has never seen a skillful and smart player like Peter. This was also to be on display at Washington’s prestigious Howard University where he was an All American four years in a row. To this day, Machu as he is known at Howard is credited for turning that soccer program around. It was at Howard where the new pro league’s Washington Diplomat would go after him to turn pro. He chose to stay with academics and thanks to that decision he is today a computer scientist of the tallest order. When I call him Victor Ludorum alluding to his three sport prowess, I must add he was also a track and field star excelling in the Long jump and sprints. Peter was a member of that great relay team (Fr Edu Gomez, Peter Prom, Orland Johnson and Abdoulie Barry) that never once came second in any meeting. Prom ak Eller, Sang Ma Cha Bordeaux, ya ka gorreh.]]>
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