After missing out on all titles for another year, league giants Real de Banjul last week called a soul-searching internal meeting aimed at whipping up members to dedicate themselves to the club’s future.
Real ended the season in second place missing out on the league title to Hawks and also crashed out of the FA Cup at the quarter-finals.
For a club that is certainly the most organised and more endowed with resources than any other club, that achievement is far from impressive.
According reports gleaned from its social media platform, club president William Abraham set the off season meeting alight with a firm and clarion call for the coaches and playing staff to be more dedicated and committed to the club. ”If you’re part of a set-up, you need to be part of it in a way that ensures that you are achieving the goals of that place, but not just to be there for your selfish interest. People should not just be showing up when it’s time for benefits and lag behind when it’s time for work. I am the president of the club but people who are my bosses put me in this position,” Willy said. He reminded the Real family that this is a team that was formed since 1966, the oldest in the country, adding that It took a lot of hard work for it to become the biggest club in the county today. “Our wish is to be one of the top clubs in Africa but that can only be achieved if we are all committed to Real de Banjul,” he stressed.
Though Willy may have sounded a little disappointed, the technical director of the club, Pa Suwareh Faye consoled him and all members by reporting that the season is not all that bad because the club has transferred six players, which reduced its manpower to a point when it was able to have only eighteen players on matchday squads in the later part of the season. ”Despite this, we finished second in the league,” he said.
“For example, he went on, “Lamin Saidy at some point got invitations to the national team; four other players got invited to the national CHAN team; another four to the U-20 for the Wafu and now five to the U-23 team,” Faye added.
He disclosed that The Gambia U-20 captain Kajally Drammeh has joined Cape Town City of South Africa while Ebrima Jarju, Ebrima Singhateh, Bubacarr Tambedou, and Foday Darboe all joined Estonian giants and partner club Paide. Linnameeskond with striker Babucarr Jallow moving to Angola’s Wiliete SC.
“In total, ten players have been invited to various national team set-ups,” Mr Faye said.
For his part, head coach Bye Malleh Wadda said: “It has been a difficult season. We wanted to win the league but it wasn’t possible at the end. I have to say this is difficult for the fans but our aim was to give them something to celebrate. From the club’s point of view, it has been a successful season because the target was to sell at least three players and we ended up selling six which is a massive achievement and this is what we want to do; recruit and prepare players for the professional leagues. It feels so good that players we’ve worked with get settled quickly in that level of their careers”.
Club captain Gregory Sambou, who spoke on behalf of the players, said: “We would like to thank the management for the efforts taken to achieve success. Though our wish was to win the league, which did not happen, I think it was in our hands as we had control of the table in the beginning before we gave it away towards the end of the first round and it slipped away from our hands for good. We will prepare better for the coming season but if we want to win the title we need to be committed and honest to one another and we all have to add more efforts and dedication to the team.
As one of the top clubs in Africa that move players and continue to lose talents to clubs in the professional leagues around the world, Real de Banjul has also this season successfully created three category teams of age groups where talents can be nurtured from tender ages to serve as feeder teams to the first team and also minimise signing players from other clubs.
Sporting Real that serves as a B team is created and already qualified to compete in the Banjul Regional Third Division league followed by Live Your Dream Sports Academy that comprises of U-15s and U-12s.