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Tribute OJ: PIONEER OF SEREKUNDA FOOTBALL

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One of the greatest contributors to the development of football in metropolitan Serekunda was the late politician Omar Jallow (OJ). He died on Sunday plunging the country into deep mourning. Remembered largely for his undiluted patriotism as a politician, OJ’s contribution to sport was equally impressive.

His coming into politics as a very young man had an infectious inspirational impact on the youth folk everywhere in the country in the 1970s.

One of the key areas he had made tremendous success was his capacity for mass mobilisation of youths through football.

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In Serekunda, he helped build the historic Kwame Football Club, the first ever league club outside Banjul.

“The team instantly became a huge success recruiting and moulding international stars. Together with stalwarts Nyamini, Baboucarr Barrow, Alieu Koroma and others, OJ organised and bankrolled Kwame FC to be the flagship of Serekunda football.

“The team had very skilfull and flamboyant players in the likes of Jim Bittaye, Assan Kujabi, Jumai Saidy, Lamin Owens, Baboucarr Saho,” recalled Musa Sisé a veteran of Serekunda football and president of the Sport Journalists Association.

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In the early 1980s, OJ spearheaded the creation of a new sport zone, Serekunda East, just as was the case in 1977 when a political constituency was created with the same name. Serekunda then became two sports zones, west and east, until this day.

During the famous 1983 Youth Week hosted in the Kombo St Mary’s Division, now KMC, Serekunda East beat West in the final of an exciting football tourney in the first major Serekunda derby. “OJ was ecstatic on that day. It was the beginning   of many years of success recorded by the zone which dominated the zonals for a long time and fed the leagues and national teams with stars. Serekunda East became the largest breeding ground for football talents,” Sisé said.

He said through sport and related youth matters, OJ facilitated and inspired many youths to take up education with many securing scholarships to study overseas.

He helped legions of men and women achieved their dreams without discrimination,” Sisé said.

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