Ebrima Touray signed a three-year contract with Fortune FC on Sunday.
The right-back played for Team Rhino, making 51 appearances scoring 5 goals, and providing 19 assists. He was rumoured to have attracted interest from Real de Banjul and Falcons FC before Fortune signed him.
Touray’s case is a unique one; Rhino never gave him a contract and failed to give him his clearance when he demanded to leave. Coming into his third year, the player demanded monthly wages, but the club only continued to stick to their travel allowances.
He triggered the GFF clause, which allowed him to move.
“Failure to deposit the player’s contract will result in the GFF not recognising the contract unless a copy is duly deposited with the GFF, and the date the said contract is deposited with the GFF will be noted”
The landmark case ended up seeing Ebrima Touray deemed as free agent and eligible to play for a club of his choice effective January 5, 2024.
The player representative, Baboucarr Mbye, describes the case as a win for Gambian football.
“Because most players don’t dare take this step, my client sat for three months just waiting for the ruling. Most don’t have the instinct and are not willing to take a risk. Our case was one of the riskiest cases we undertook, and we stood by the truth. We needed independence and liberty in seeking the truth, and at the end of the day, we got the truth. It will be a very good lesson for most of these clubs so that they give their players contracts and pay them. Most representatives won’t allow clubs to sign their players without paying salaries. It’s a win for Ebrima, Fortune FC, and Gambian football.”
The Alkamba Times reached out to Team Rhino for their reactions, but the club refused to duel further in the matter. However, the medium went to speak to the secretary general of the Gambia Football Players Association, Dodou Janko.
“We do have cases, especially women-related cases. We are very disappointed that for the past four years we have been following the Federation for us to be part of the Players Status Committee. If a committee that is looking over the welfare of the players is here and you have an association that has the same mandate, but that association doesn’t have a say, then where is our voice?
The federation doesn’t want to work with us; they see us as threats, and we should be well represented. It’s a good one, and I am surprised and have heard it for a long time that a player has an issue with his team after the investigation concluded that his team was faculty and the player ended up winning. My worry is: Are they applying the same procedure that they used on Team Rhino to other teams?”
Janko went on to encourage players to speak up in such instances.
“We saw a typical case between Awa Tamba and Redscorpions; her contract expired, but Redscorpions failed to release her and went on to claim that she was their player still. This and many other cases are rampant here. The players are helpless and voiceless because they are afraid to voice out their frustrations and end up penalised by the clubs.
A joyful Touray reacted after signing the deal.
“Fortune is more than a club; the environment is friendly, and players and staff are welcoming. Their project suits my ambition; they are focusing on young players, and the coach is focusing on developing young players, and I am one of them. I am happy to join them; it has been some tough months for me.
The right-back is highly regarded among his peers and had a brief stint with Tallinding United in 16 games; he started nine games and had six assists.
The Kunjung Friends product is a direct replacement for Bakary Juwara, who left for Slovenia. Many draw comparisons with his energy and playing style. He has grown in maturity in the game since his first division debut at the age of 15 years. Based on his performance last season, he is likely to be cut from the next U20 provisional squad. His performance rate is very high.