Girls can play series – Yakarr playmaker Banna Jarju

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Gambia women’s football continues to provide future generation series. In this feature, Alkamba Times goes to Siffoe to unearth Banna Jarju, who many call Bomati after Barcelona Femine playmaker. 

The story of Banna is unique; it captures the early beginnings of Banna, who used to follow her sister Adama Jarju (Mentor, President of Yakarr) as a player to becoming a hero whose name many will remember for long in the canals of Yakarr FC team and Siffoe. 

She is a product of Yakarr, currently the assistant captain of the Siffoe-based club. Gambia Senior Secondary School, who mainly dominated men’s football, had to rely on Banna, and she didn’t disappoint when they became Regional One champions; she scored six goals before Banna and Gambia High crashed out of the principal cup in the semifinals. 

Banna signed off from school football to continue her education, hoping to be an engineer constructor in the future.

 

After the final whistle in Soma, following a 3-0 win against Jung Mama coupled with Kintehs 1-1 draw with Jeshwang, Yakarr earned back-to-back promotion and were promoted to the Gambia Women First Division. Banna has 4 goals and 8 assists which includes strikes against Mansa Wally, Prison, Fortune FA, and Trust FA.

 

Banna always stands out in Yakarr football festivals, winning individual accolades at a younger age making the plot of success for Yakarr in years to come in the hands of Banna Jarjue Banna. Her first year with the A team, she won the leading goal scorer in the third division with seven goals, as she announced herself. She followed the season with a nawettan in the Kombo South, winning the best player trophy.

 

“Yakaar FC has spent lots of time in the third division; the pioneers of the team are gone, and now we have only kids. We lost three playoff finals down the road. Since we came to the second division, things changed; the levels are not the same, the second division has lots of experience, and we tried not to relegate in our first year. It was very difficult. We went together as one team, and we pushed it together, and we finished in ninth position. The 2023/2024 preparation started immediately our last game; it paid dividend because our only defeat was against Greater Tomorrow.” Banna stated 

Banna and Jako Saho represented Yakarr in the U20 WAFU competition, and she went on to play the last match against Mali.

“U20, I wasn’t surprised; they saw my performance with my club. I am happy to be part of the setup. It was a joy. I am proud to be part of the team. You have to believe in yourself that you can do it.”

Banna plays as a midfielder and she is ambidextrous also. Known for her clever passes, Banna has eyes for spaces to correctly place the ball.

Adama Jarju says Banna will be one of future Gambia players. Banna grew up idolising Adama, who used to play for the Jam City football team.

“We have hope on her, and she is an exceptional footballer. When she was around the age of 5-6 years, she used to play with boys; that’s where she picked the game. If she trains, she will have all she wants in football.” Jarju indicated in relation to Banna

“I am happy for the championship. This is our second year in the second division, and us winning it will send a motivation to the players, and being a champion always attracts quality players, which is always happening,”

Yakaar FC Champions of GFF Women Second Division

Yakarr lost 4-0 to Berewuelng in the FA Cup semifinals, giving a signal that the marginals aren’t that big. They will like to emulate Berewuleng, whose since their promotion to the women’s top flight haven’t relegated and went on to finish second in the concluded season.

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Baboucarr Fallaboweh
Baboucarr Fallaboweh Sports Editor (Buba Jallow Fallaboweh) is a Gambian football expert, football analyst & columnist. The Stockholm-based Journalist is a media officer, football Scout, PR, Influencer and Digital creator. I started my journalism career as a football analyst in 2012 with Vibes FM and went on to work with CityLimit, West Coast, Hot FM, Freedom Radio, Eye Africa and Afri Radio as a content producer and presenter. In 2013, I attended Football Daily on the BBC SPORTS where we discussed the different styles of Football played in Africa. I Went on to freelance for The Point Newspaper, Freedom Newspaper, Daily Observer and Standard Newspaper before being appointed as Sports Editor with the Alkamba Times in March 2022.  I have worked for Magazines like Glo Magazine and Foot54 covering Gambian football and African Football.   Between 2020 -2021 I worked as a scout for the Gambia Football Federation, scouting talents for the U17 &U20.  From 2017 to 2021, I served as Media officer for GFF First division teams Team Rhino and Marimoo and also as media Officer of Banjul FC, fourth Division tier in Sweden and Darboe’s FC (Female second division club in the Gambia). I served as a PR for Superstars Academy.   With Afrencon, I was a data analyst before I joined LightHouse as a head scout for the Gambia project. In organizational structures, I served as the ambassador of the John Bass Kidney Foundation and one of the founders of the foundation creating kidney awareness in the Gambia.   I also served two positions in the Gambian organization in Sweden, as Sports chairman and the secretary of the associations.   After 12 years of being a football journalist, I was named 3rd best sports column writer in Africa year 2021 by the reputable sports media organization AIPS. I finished in the top 35 in the world with my article titled Back way: Gambian footballers in deadly Voyage to Europe.   With over 500 articles and interviews, analysis, profiling, features and news, I was shortlisted for the Gambia Press Union National Journalist Award 2022. I submitted the article which was co-written alongside Momodou Bah From Living Through Despair to Being An Agent Of Hope, The Inspiring Story Of John Bass.   I have served as an advisers to Football academies, clubs, and players and others. I have hosted dozens of shows and was invited as a guest on both radio, TV and the online press. I also covered the Gambia's maiden AFCON debut in 2021 in Cameroon.  

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