By Sulayman Bah
When Modou Barrow climbed off the reserves’ bench to be offered a 25-minute debut against Arsenal, he must have realised that he will be the first player from the West African nation of Gambia to grace the English Premier League.
Omar Alieu Koroma came within distance of attaining the feat after he signed the dotted lines for then PL club Portsmouth under current Queens Park Rangers’ coach Harry Rednapp in 2008.
In what initially was believed to be mark of new beginnings turned a bitter pill for OJ Koroma amid successive injuries shattering all hopes of a premier league dream.
It was not until six years later that a Gambian would break the hoodoo into the English tier this time with Modou Secka Barrow the main man.
The 21-year-old’s debut was the turning point to Swansea City’swin over Arsene Wenger’s troops triggering off the incident to midfielder Sigurdsson ensuring free-kick for the equalizing goal.
The left-footer- who eight months ago reportedly served a community sentence for indiscipline in Sweden – broke free with his blistering pace to cut in at edge of the box.
Unable to marhsall him off, England international Gibbs was left with no choice but to bundle him down.
That was the catalyst to the Swans come-from-behind to subject Arsenal to an excruciating 2-1 defeat in front of over twenty thousand spectators at the liberty Stadium.
Realistically, Barrow’s inclusion to the A team has not come without hard work after proving he’s worth the pick in the youth set-up scoring four times in four matches for the U21s.
Back at home, the excitement was indescribable last Sunday as Gambian football fanatics jumped for joy at the sight of their own countryman storming one of the world’s most watched league.
Foroyaa Sport went out to seek public reaction to the rare positive sight.
Ahmad Ndowa fan shortly emerging from the cinema said, “I never thought we (Gambians) could be this good. The boy (Modou Barrow) was great. His inclusion bolstered Swansea’s pace up in attack. I hope he features in coming matches because that puts Gambia’s name on the limelight.”
Another fan, Salif Fatty added, “I have read about him in the newspapers when he was in the club’s under-21 side shortly after signing from one small Swedish club. I pray he comes of good and raises the Gambian flag high.”
Alieu Barry: “He has pace and has the potentials to prove the club was right to buy him.”
MalickSarr:“It is really pleasing to see and hear of a Gambian take the big stage in football. I will advize him not to be carried away. His debut was impressive but he has a daunting task to dislodge top striker like Ivory Coast international Wilfred Bony for a starting place. He shouldn’t expect it to be all smooth-sailing.”