Nicholas Jackson: Gambia’s loss is Senegal’s gain

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By: Coach Ebrima Ceesay, UK 

This case is a puzzle to me, and I am still trying to piece the jigsaw puzzle together. I met Nicholas Jackson, who plays as a striker for Chelsea football Club in the English Premier League, and to date, cannot still work out why and how he ended up representing (or playing for) the Senegalese National Football team, instead of the Gambia.

Gambia’s loss is Senegal’s gain.

I knew Nicholas was born in the Gambia but had assumed that he was raised in Casamance with Senegalese parents because that is what you will always read online on various websites. Yet, the young man does not speak any French at all. Besides, he speaks urban Gambian Wolof with a typical Gambian accent and English fluently. So, both culturally and linguistically, Nicholas is clearly Gambian. Even when he tries to speak Senegalese Wolof to cater for a Senegalese audience, it seems rather unnatural, and one can still detect his Gambian accent. Against this backdrop, I decided, this morning, to dig deep or further, to find out who he is, and where he came from. And it has turned out that not only was Nicholas Jackson born, raised, and schooled in the Gambia, but his father is also Gambian. The surname Jackson is uncommon in the Gambia, but Nicholas’s father is definitely Gambian. It is a shame that the Gambia is missing out on some of its talented players in Europe. Nicholas Jackson’s father is Roland Osseh Jackson, who attended Crab Island School in early 80s before proceeding to the National Vocational Training Centre. He comes from a Krio family, at least on the father’s side.

Nicholas Jackson’s father is Roland Osseh Jackson,

Based on my investigations this morning, having been born in the Gambia in 2001, Nicholas only moved to Casamance in 2017 (from the Gambia) after the political impasse involving Jammeh. He went to Casamance in 2017 first to play Nawettan football for ASC Tilene, but later joining Casa Sports football club in 2018. And it was from Casamance that he proceeded (in 2019) to Villarreal, a Spanish professional football club, and now Chelsea in England. Having received his first international call-up in November 2018, Nicholas Jackson represented Senegal at the under-20 CAN football tournament in Niger in February-March 2019. He was selected to play for Senegal’s under-20 national football team by the coach at the time, Youssoupha Dabo, who used to watch him play for Casa Sports football club.

Again, Nicholas’s father is definitely Gambian while his mother is thought to be Senegalese, but the jury is still out on whether or not this is true. His football agent is Diomansy Kamara, a former professional footballer who played for the Senegalese National Football team. In previous interviews with the Senegalese media, and of course in a bid to justify his decision to play for Senegal, Nicholas has tended to play down his Gambia ties or origins, often stressing that he was raised in Casamance but this information has turned out to be inaccurate.

Nicholas did not live in Casamance for more than two years, whereas, on the other hand, he lived in the Gambia for 16 years, although this information is being deliberately distorted. I suspect, for obvious reasons, Nicholas has been advised by the Senegalese Football Association to underemphasize or understate his Gambian links, heritage, or origins to avoid the issue serving as a source of tension between the two neighbouring countries. We wish Nicholas the best of luck in his footballing career, and once again, Gambia’s loss is Senegal’s gain.

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