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Thursday, February 22, 2024

The tale of a football legend Salifu Ndure as told by team mate

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The Gambia National team (1961)
Standing; From left to right; Gaira Lamin (alive), Abdoulie Ngum,(alive) Sulayman Samba (deceased), Pa Touray  ( Abess, goalkeeper  who later became a famous singer) deceased; Aziz Coker (Cut away) (deceased), Yusupha Mboob (deceased) and Saul Jeng (deceased).
Kneeling; Edmond Thomas ( alive) George Gomez( 404 (alive) , Salifu Ndure in circle (deseased), Solomon Gomez (Garicha, alive) and Bani Forster (deceased)
Lying down;  Lamin Touray (deceased)

So, I asked George Gomez to present the career of his old team mate who sadly died sometime ago. And here is George Gomez’s story of the late Alhaji Salifu Ndure:
Salifu Ndure was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most reliable football players the Gambia ever produced and certainly the first youngest player to be capped for the national team, at the tender age of just 17.
Born in 1937, he attended the Overage Primary and Crab Island Secondary Schools where he played football representing his schools and earning a name for himself as a great potential in football. This was in the early 1950s. In 1953 he was scouted by the famous Mr LL Prom who signed for Atomic football club and later transferred him to the senior Augustinians football club becoming the youngest   in that team. But his skills soon made him lots of friends among the older players who helped to build his confidence to become the player he eventually became. 
His greatest moments in the national jersey included The Gambia against Sierra Leone in 1957 in Banjul when The Gambia won by 3 goals to 1 with Daddy Tamba scoring two goals and Salifu Ndure supplying the oil.
In 1958 he was again selected for the return match in Sierra Leone after which he became a regular starter in nearly all Gambia’s matches until 1978 when he retired from active football.
During long spell as national team player Salifu Ndure played against national teams of Senegal, Mali, Cape Verde, Liberia, Sierra Leone, France, Guinea Bissau, Republic of Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon among others.
At club level he was every manager’s darling and was convinced by Amadou Taal to sign for the White Phantoms football club where played until 1963 before moving to Arrance Football Club, staying there until 1967 when he was employed by the Police and had to play for the Police team.
Salifu was a member of the Gambia’s memorable Kwame Nkrumah Gold Cup team and played in both the first and second legs which saw Senegal won by 4 goals to 2 at the Box Bar Stadium and in Dakar, in Gambia winning by 3 goals to 2 in 1962 at the Stade Iba Mar Diop.
Salifu was a highly rated and resolute left wing back, very strong and fast who started as a winger at school but was transformed to an attacking wing back who was terrific at the overlap.
He retired from active football in 1978 and was appointed trainer of the Gambia Police team. He was also the trainer of Starlight and Musa Njie Football Teams and while on postings in Mansa Konko he took over as coach of the Lower River Division football.
He always attributed his success in Football to the late Mr Bai Ndodey Njie, Games Master at Crab Island and the late Mr LLProm the legendary Manager of Augustinians Football Club.
Salifu Ndure departed this life on 24th October 2013 and was laid to rest 25th October at the New Jeshwang Cemetery.
Gone but will never be forgotten. You gave us your time, represented our beloved country and really entertained us with your timely overlaps on the left wing. You were fun to watch and we thank you for Gambian football would not have been where it is now without the contribution of past heroes like you. Rest in Peace. Compiled by George Gomez former Gambian international and executive secretary of GNOC and author of Milestones in Gambian Football.

Author: Lamin Cham


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