By Sulayman Bah
Six months after opting to leave Gambia’s shores to be a footballer in Asia, Bubacarr Steve-Trawally is the juicy pill on the back pages of northeastern Jilin Province journals and on the lips of Chinese football fanatics.
The young forward joined Hangzhou Green Town from Real de Banjul in January this year, to be the second Gambian, after Arthur Gomez, to trade his services in the Republic of China.
Having committed his future on long-term contract, Green Town, saw no need to rush Bubacarr through the rigours akin with the Chinese Super League and instead decided to lease him out to second division outfit Yanbian, where a project to rake up first-team football experience has been crafted for his development.
The idea to send him out on loan left a dozen of his following aghast who rate him too good for even the up-and-coming Chinese top flight.
Steve –as he’s widely dubbed –despite his young age, in no time proved a handful for defenders –awakening the awe in amongst Chinese football pundits who, having, only seen him play in few games, have tagged him a big fish in a small pond.
And a small pond he has turned the Chinese second division into, letting loose his explosive form -picked up while in his final year at Real de Banjul –do the talking in the pitch as he continues to clatter goals for fun.
Just last week, the 20-year-old grabbed his first career hat-trick, a feat that has proved elusive to secure throughout his four-year spell at Gambian club RDB. And to sweeten the cherry, the highlight coincided with the Muslim feast which he’s forced to celebrate away from home for the first time.
‘I would say this is one of the best moments of my footballing career as I’ve played four years in Gambia scoring many goals but never got lucky to score a hat-trick. (I) scored a brace thrice in my last season with Real de Banjul but never a hattrick. So it was really a great feeling to score three in front of my home fans in my first season as a professional player. I feel very excited that I couldn’t even celebrate the third goal as I used to celebrate,’ an overwhelmed Trawally told Foroyaa Sport from his Chinese residence, Yanbian Province.
Often players are faced with adaptation hiccups in settling in a new team. Steve was however determined not to fall off at the first whistle go, so much so that, he set about netting specific number of goals as first point to win over his new club fans when his transfer to Yanbian was rubber-stamped.
To add to that, the attacker was challenged by two bosom friends of his to score 10 or 15 goals before returning home for the off-season. Already he’s one goal shy of meeting the ten-goal target and wants an audacious 20 for himself.
‘I’m a very hungry player when it comes to scoring and winning goals. But really I’m very much happy with my performance at Yanbian because it’s always difficult for players to click on from their 1st season with their teams. So I would say I am very much pleased with my performance but I’m not satisfied just yet as I’m working hard to do more than I already have attained’ the GFF league 2014 season best player says.
He continued: ‘I scored nine goals –five of those coming from the last two matches – in fourteen games and made five assists. I was suspended for four games due to a red card so the team played eighteen games but I’m on fourteen. Two close of friends of mine have tasked me to score. One said 10 and the other 15. Six remains to reach the other’s target and hopefully I add up more to it quickly. So right now my target is 20 goals.’
With a prepossessing goal return of two per three games, it’s not hard to fathom the fuss hovering around the former Stockholm and Culture FC playmaker. Ubiquitous club agents it’s understood are beginning to inundate his agent’s space with a bombardment of enquiries over the striker.
While European football remains the outlined priority Trawally has refused to let his head turned by the sudden attention he’s attracting leaving all the intricacies for his agent to sort out.
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Pic: Bubacarr Trawally here out races a marker
‘The target is to play for bigger clubs in Europe and I’m becoming a key figure in the Chinese football now. So many teams are asking to know much about me. My agent is surely working on all those things. So fingers crossed hoping for the best,’ he says.
For the Chinese press, no marauding of defenders goes unnoticed.
Meanwhile, one would have been forgiven to think, having been named in the Chinese League One best eleven of the first round, Steve’s call-up to national duty is notched with a seal of approved.
However to his fans’ amazement, he was overlooked for the South Africa game in Durban triggering a raft of protestation arguing his inclusion in the senior Scorpions squad.
Grilled on the subject, the 20-year-old bluntly told Foroyaa Sport:’ I received calls from different parts of the world and messages as of why I was not in team. Myself I was surprised because after winning the league’s top scorer and the best local based athlete in my last season with Real, I taught I would be given a chance on the South Africa game even if I was still playing for Real. And now that I have gone professional and also scoring goals, I said well the dream of wearing my country’s jersey is becoming a dream come true but unluckily I didn’t get to make the final list even though I received an invitation earlier in march for the national team but later didn’t get to make up the final 23 man squad. I take all that as a source of motivation to work extra harder in still achieving my dream of playing for my country. So I’m not disturbed on not been in the 1st game instead am working harder and hopefully looking forward to having a call up. I would be honored to come and play anytime that happens….’
By Sulayman Bah