By: Essa Bah
Abdoulie Baldeh is banging goals for fun in the Gambia’s elite division this season, making it look so easy on a trade many failed to impress. At the same time, his rise to the pinnacle of Gambian football took work.
A boy born in Bakau and raised in Brikama with a big passion for the footballing game, he looked so “silly” and received “bullied” by colleagues anytime he started discussing his dream for the future, but passion is what keeps him going in the game.
“Sometimes I borrow boots to play football and will be crying inside due to the pain of not having one for myself, so after the game, I will return them, but I will have to be extra careful during the game so I won’t spoil them and that does hamper my performance.”
Abdoulie started playing for Oxford Football Club at a tender age, a local team where his impression earned him the generosity of a man he described as his “football father,” Sheriff Jallow, the current head coach of Brikama United. The sheriff found him and brought him to the Greater Tomorrow Football Academy.
“I was passing on the road and found children playing, and I saw Abdoulie Baldeh playing within. I stopped to look at him, asked his name, and went to his parents to discuss with them, and they allowed me to invite him to the Greater Tomorrow Academy” Sheriff accounts…
The journey began at his new football home for the young Bakau-man, who never looked back again. Baldeh was with the academy from the U13 category to the U17.
He played ‘nawetan’ football in Brikama and the Third Division, with Greater Tomorrow and Gambinos, respectively, before traveling to Kosovo side Pristina FC for a six-month loan.
“It was not easy, we traveled during the corona, but at that time, the team was in financial difficulties, so the players were not paid, and I was not receiving the salary I was supposed to, so I came back to the Gambia,” Baldeh recalled on his loan spell.
Coming back to his boyhood club Greater Tomorrow and moved with them to the top flight of Gambia football in a stint where he scored 15 league goals and made headlines.
Abdoulie Baldeh is currently competing for the golden boot in the First Division. At the time of this report, he was only one goal behind Brikama United center forward Mustapha Drammeh, who has 16 plans.
Abdoulie Baldeh has received a lot of offers from fellow first-division teams, most notably Real de Banjul but said, “I am happy at Greater Tomorrow and committed to the club’s colors.”
Baldeh recently received an invitation to train with the Gambia U23 — a feeling he described as “next to nothing” and assures Gambia’s national coaches of his complete confidence to thrive if given a chance.
Remember, this is Abdoulie’s first season in the Gambia’s top tier, and his confidence in front of goal is worth watching.
His “best gaffer,” Sheriff Jallow, described Baldeh as a shy but committed and discipline kid who executes every work he is given to perfection.
Fifteen goals for a struggling Greater Tomorrow side rings true potential about the lad, and 14 goals in the Gambia’s top division tell its own story.
Now the questions are;
What is next for the lad, and Which team will knock on the door?
And can Greater Tomorrow withhold the external pressure of keeping the lad?