Keep an eye on Team Rhinos center-back pair Mustapha Darboe and Momodou Bah, the GFF league ball-playing defenders.
When you talk about centre-backs nowadays, you talk about leadership, composure, ruthlessness, dominant bullying, aggression, and not losing yourself. In an era where football has evolved to scoring goals, having consistent central defenders is the ideal methodology for every coach and club.
One might wonder how Team Rhino FC made it to the Gambia’s First Division in such a short time despite not scoring a lot of goals.
Thanks to the defence partnership of Mamadou Bah and Mustapha Darboe. Both defenders can operate both on the left and right rear depending on the opponent. They are calm on the ball, go in for good tackles, they have tough mental fortitude and above all, they score goals.
Mamadou and Mustapha’s partnership holds the second-best clean sheet in the GFF league for the 2022–23 season.
Mamadou Bah made his way to the Gambia National U20 team that represented the Gambia at the Youth World Cup 2023 in Argentina and also scored for the National U23 team in qualifiers against Burkina Faso.
Mustapha Darboe has held 65% clean sheet since he joined the club. Team Rhino FC only conceded 1 goal in 7 games this season. On top of that, Mustapha found the back of the net in a win over Waa Banjul.
Many who have seen Mustapha’s current performance can attribute it to that of the time James Gomez was rising; his style is likened to that of Liverpool captain Van Dijk, and many argue it is more of the Sergio Ramos type.
Mustapha has lots of qualities; he is a complete leader with a great mentality and composure. He is versatile and plays comfortably as a right-back. He is a ball-playing defender with good buildup. Double-footed, agile, and fast; good in the air; 1v1; and long passes.
Just like his precedents, James Gomez, Alagie Saine, Dembo Saidykhan Mustapha Darboe and Lamarana Jallow are ready for the next step, especially with Mustapha who was sought by Steve Biko, Real de Banjul and Olso FA just before the season kickoff. Darboe is determined and hungry and is ranked as one of the top three Centre-Backs in the league.
Darboe’s style of play suits Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland and France. While Momodou is adaptive, Scandinavian can be a great start to get himself up.
The duo are natural winners, with Darboe winning five trophies with Bijankerr United and one with Serekunda East. Bah, who spent all his playing career with Rhino was voted as Team Rhino Player of the Year on two occasions and won the Third Division championship and silver medal with the Gambia U20. He holds the record of the youngest player to play for Team Rhino at the age of 15.
As a young player playing in Gambia my target and dream is always to be professional playing in the top leagues in Europe. I know it comes with hard work and a lot of sacrifices, but I am ready for it and I am taking it step by step. Bah emphasized.
Darboe wants to follow in the footsteps of Bah by representing the Gambia U20 and, from there turn to a professional footballer in the future. If Darboe cuts with the U20 he will be Rhino’s fourth player to play in the junior category.
Mustapha averaged the most headed goals (4) out of center-backs in the GFF in the last 35 games.
One of the most accurate passers among CBs in the GFF this season – 92.68% which ranks him 1st this season.
Height 1.76 cm
Weight 67 kg
2022/2023 season 28 games 18 clean 3 goals
2023/2024 season is ongoing 7 games 6 clean sheets 1 goal.
Height 1.92 CM
Weight 75 kg
2022/2023 season 15 games 1 (Due to engagement with U20)
2023/2024 season is ongoing 4 games 3 clean sheet