By: Pa Barrow
A veteran and former Gambia Scorpions International goalkeeper, Musa Bajaha, has called on the nation’s growing young footballers to take up skills work and proper education in the early beginnings of their footballing careers for better sustenance in life after football.
“Post-football career can be very challenging if you do not have a successful career as a sportsman or woman both physically and mentally,” the former net-minder told the Alkamba Times.
Mr. Bajaha now operates his welding workshop where he employs young people — but his new profession after football has given birth to a public description with some calling him a failure. However, the Baja Kunda born is not bothered by these calls; instead, he has this to advise the young stars.
“The young people taking sports as their career should be given a helping hand to consider taking other skills works seriously while playing football at an early stage before it will be too late for them,” Musa advised.
“Some people see me as a failure because I am now doing welding after playing at a professional level, but I am not bordered about that because some people use words they don’t understand,” he said.
“At a personal level, I consider failure as when I was taking girls from one club to another without following my Deen as a Muslim, but now, thanks be to Allah for taking me away from that lifestyle. I am now doing my work, benefiting myself, my family, and the community,” Bajaha added.
The former goalkeeper believed that for his advice to be put into practice, academy and club owners at the grassroots level need to inculcate policies for kids aspiring to become footballers to learn skills and attend their school lessons like it is done in other parts of the world, most especially Europe.
“Sports and skills should be taken seriously by everyone who wants to be a professional in the future. However, we must understand that not everyone who plays football will be a professional in the future, even though that is the aim of young people. The reality is only a few will make it to the professional level in their lives,” Bajaha added.
Musa Bajaha, born in 1976, played active club football from 2001 to 2014 before retiring. During his early days, he played in various Swedish clubs, such as GAIS Göteborg, Enköpings SK, and Nyköpings BIS. He also represented the senior scorpions’ national team from 1996 to 2008, making nine caps.