By: Baboucarr Falaboweh
Falcons FC ran the show in the first five games, with many tipping them for a top-five finish, while Samger was dragged into the relegation zone many times during the season.
Among the newcomers, Steve Biko, who finished 3rd, and Rhino FC, who were 6th, had the last dance.
Former Serekunda East Zonal Champion Yunsua Badjie calls it a season to remember as many things happened.
“It’s a big achievement. It’s a good season as a newcomer. We are very consistent in performance; it was a good run,” Badjie stressed.
“Our target was to survive relegation and maintain the team in the First Division; any position above relegation was a bonus. After the first round, we had a meeting, and we decided to have an overhaul of changes, especially regarding players and the mentality.”
” There was a big psychological problem among the players regarding the status of the First Division. Then I told them if we stick to the adjustment and work together, no team will beat us twice, meaning teams that beat us earlier we neither win against them nor draw. We weren’t competing. It was a learning curve, especially in the first round. After that, it became an analytical thing, analyzing every phase.”
Just like Rhino, who had 10-11 unbeaten games, recording 16 clean sheets and the second-best defensive record with just 21 goals conceded, Steve Biko nearly finished 2nd if they had not played four draws against Elite, Real De Banjul, Marimoo, and Banjul Utd. In all, they had seven games run without a defeat.
“When Steve Biko was relegated to the Second Division, it was like a new brand team. We released 80% of the squad. In the third season, GFF announced that four teams would be promoted, I seized the opportunity, but I wasn’t doing well. I could remember at week 10 I was already in relegation. We pushed and ended up in the sixth position, where we had the playoff spot. We played and got promoted. I signed Ousman Ceesay & Ousman Sanneh and maintained the same team, Badjie told Alkamba Times Sports, adding:
” In the beginning, we were only looking for the eighth position. There was going to be a Late Omar Sey tournament, we played our first game and lost 3-0 to the Falcons, and I told myself I thought we were underdogs; I wasn’t the champion in the Second Division and didn’t even finish third. Having been the underdogs, we will respect the teams. Our strength is our young strikers; we sit behind and hit teams on the counter. After week 23, I watched all the teams and learned their strengths and weaknesses.”
In Week 24, eight positions were achieved, so let’s have a prize. We didn’t finish 2nd because we were better than Elite, Marimoo, Real and Banjul Utd and we could have won. I am proud of the team. They show me what they can do. My season is just beginning, and I need to maintain it or go beyond.”
Adnan Musa, who had Adama Bojang, Modou Lamin Marong, and Yankuba Minteh in his ranks, is pleased to work with the youngsters.
“It’s progress, and we were saying we have young players, and they are easy to market. We wanted to have many U20 or U23 representatives and market the players. We are working on their replacements. It will motivate other players; the players are hungry to travel and become professional.”He added