Gambia international Bubacarr ‘Steve’ Trawally who plays football in China last week paid a courtesy call on the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia, Zhang Jiming, at the embassy in Bijilo.
Steve’s visit coincided with the presentation by China of 200 footballs and two brand new vehicles to the Ministry of Youth and Sports as it prepares to host the 2017 National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) later next month.
The Yanbian Funde star, who is currently on vacation after the end of the Chinese Super League season, spoke with Ambassador Jiming about a whole range of issues including the image of the Gambia-China bilateral relationship in terms of youth and sport development.
Ambassador Jiming said the Chinese government and its Banjul Embassy would always keep youth empowerment and sport cooperation in mind as well as promoting bilateral relationships in their agenda and priority, adding: “Trawally was a former player of my hometown club and since he left The Gambia for China, he has been doing well and I read about his exploits,” referring to Hangzhou Greentown, who bought him from local club Real de Banjul in 2015.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Henry Gomez, heaped praises on the 23-year-old, who netted 18 goals in 28 appearances for relegated-Yanbian.
“He is a great young man and I want to tell him that life is not a bed of roses and you have to work very hard. Don’t think that you have enough as I wish to see you become tomorrow the next Messi or the next Ronaldo because you can do it and I believe they are not better than you.
“There are young people outside there who need you to give them a helping hand, so we please ask you to help and invest in the development of youths in the country.”
He added: “You are like an ambassador for all Gambians in China with your exploits as the ministry is proud of you, His Excellency Jiming and President Adama Barrow and his cabinet are all proud of you, so we please ask you to open your doors to help the young ones also in the development of sports in this country.”
The Bundung-born forward, in his appreciation remarks, thanked the ambassador for the gesture from the Chinese embassy in Banjul.
“I know how difficult it is to have proper balls or equipment to play football in The Gambia as I have been through that before but I know with the donation of 200 balls, it’ll help the youths because I don’t want to be the only player in China, I wish to be joined by another Gambian and hopefully together we can take our country’s name forward.”
He also revealed plans of taking Gambian youngsters to the Gothia Cup, an international youth football tournament held every year.
“I am planning with some partners to come and discuss with the Chinese Embassy here about taking some Gambian kids to the Gothia Cup that is held in China, at least that’s a step forward I believe, in exposing them and probably have them scouted by clubs from around the world.”
The ceremony ended with Steve presenting a signed jersey to the ambassador before autographing some of the balls.