By Amadou Barry
A group of players from Gambian ancestry based in France recently played and won a 12 – nation Africa Nations Cup Diaspora tournament in France.
The event was organised by the African diaspora community in France and was keenly contested by players with African ancestry from a dozen countries.
The Gambia’s victory was inspired by Sekou Camara who was voted the best player of the tournament.
Camara and his teammates’ victory in the diaspora Afcon has now showed the way for the Gambia national team, the Scorpions to follow as they set out for the real continental show piece in Cameroon in January. The French born Gambian now dreams to play for the Scorpions.
Celebrated by his teammates and compatriots to whom he gave back a smile and patriotic fiber in that tourney, Sekou Camara can be proud of himself. In that particular evening, everything seemed to smile for him after an epic tournament where nobody was expecting his country to win the cup.
A leader and goal scorer, the talented young player was versatile in all fronts as illustrated by the individual award he was given as the best player of the tournament.
But while he had the choice to play for his country of birth France, Sekou Camara preferred the colors of his parents’ birth place The Gambia, a country he perfectly honored and promoted in front of dignitaries and diplomatic missions in France who attended the tourney.
Born in 2001 in Paris, Camara who has just signed for Italian club Molfetta Calcio, also top scored in the tourney with 5 goals. Overall the competition has been a revelation for the youngster trained at Paris FC.
‘We mobilised several Gambian players to form a team and our group was very tough but we sailed through. The quarterfinal was more difficult but thank God everything was ok for us.
‘We won on penalties and I scored the last penalty and it was just amazing”, he recalled
By eliminating the best team from the tournament at the semi-finals, the Gambian team won the cup in the final against the France team, which was made up of a mosaic of players from all over the world.
‘It’s a great pride for me. When we won the tournament I had a special feeling. It was just unbelievable. No one expected The Gambia to do what we did in this tournament.
I was awarded best player of the tournament, a double pride’, said Camara with enthusiasm.
The prolific hard working midfielder is training hard to prepare for his new season.
‘In the club I play as a midfielder but last year in our last ranking I was playing as striker. There is more visibility here. When I came to Italy I realized that I have improved compared to the time I was in France”.
If there is one thing Sekou firmly believes and defines as his mantra, it is ‘always trying to reach the best of his ability. “I believe in hard work because it always make the difference. My favorite player is Paul Pogba because people do compare us frequently. He inspires me and even in the press articles here I am often compared to him. Paul is technically a complete player by his passes, his crosses, his elegance of playing. Paul Pogba is just an exemplary player,’ Sekou said.
Sekou Camara knew very little about The Gambia but he keeps strong ties with the country and has great ambitions for The Gambia national team the Scorpions which qualified for the first time to the AFCON.
‘My dream is to play for The Gambia in all competitions, bringing what I can do in my best ability for the team. I would love to participate to this upcoming Afcon in Cameroon. If there’s one thing I would like to do, it’s to play for my country. Since we are qualified for this major tournament for the first time it would be a dream that come true”, he hoped.
To his fellow compatriots in the national team, the young player sends his goodwill encouragement message:
‘When you guys qualified for the AFCON, we all danced. We are all with you. We keep praying and stand with you dear Scorpions. I know that we will not be in Cameroon for tourism. The Gambia must be respected.”