EXCLUSIVE: Gambian player quits football for fitness modeling

By Sulayman Bah

Leaving Gambia as a burgeoning footballer for the Icelandic Premier League 2010, it never would have occurredMatarr Jobe to Matarr Jobe that his career could come to an abrupt end five years later.

And that was exactly what happened to the former Real de Banjul. Matarr was snapped up by Valur Reykjavik, who, after having been convinced by his talent a year later, shipped him out on loan to a second tier club in a bid to prepare his young mind for the rigours of first team football.

The spell at Vikingur Olasfsvik proved a wise move with the Gambian automatically transformed into the head in the heart of the Olasfsvik outfit’s defence line. Parent club Valur recalled Jobe to their set up the following season, and, for the then 21-year-old, it marked start of a new dawn.

But just when he began to win adulations from fans and his coach, the inevitable happened – the defender received a serious knock on his knee and had to be sidelined.

From rehabilitation to recuperation, what followed was more a pattern of one week in the football pitch and another on the treatment table.

And after four years with a combined forty-four number of games in four non-stop championships coupled with niggling injuries to the knee –mostly a sequence of recurrences -, the now 23-year-old was gradually forced to toy the idea of drawing the curtain to an otherwise buccaneering career.

And in the confines of his quite room, Jobe who became the first Scorpion international to taste football waters of the Nordic Island nation, decided enough is enough with his troubling knee issues consequently reaching the difficult decision to hang up his boots.

His announcement to quit received a myriad of sympathies. Many of his mates who’d lost promising careers would rather sit and cut gloomy desolate figures in indulged self-sympathy.

But the erstwhile Gambia U-20 skipper opted not to take that path preferring to wisely divert his energies to fitness modeling.

‘It was really a tough decision to quit football,’ he tells Foroyaa Sport from, Reykjavík, Iceland.

‘I have undergone two surgeries on my knee and neither has been successful. Football was my life and has given me a great experience playing for my country which I am very proud of and in Iceland. But unfortunately, my knee is never going to be the same. So I decided to put all my energy into fitness training and create a new career for myself.’

He went on: ‘it wasn’t my body that couldn’t handle the football anymore, it’s only my knee. I’m back to full fitness. I’m still a scorpion at heart, but I have to change career I’m not going to cry about it , I have to pick myself up dust myself off and be the best I can be at what I love to do and I really love what I’m doing now’

A one-time football business-like no-nonsense defender. His fluidity at the back-four with a touch of slight aggressiveness toward strikers is synonymous among Gambian fans. Such was a his pattern of football that he was likened to Italy retired international Alessandro Nesta, now coach of Miami FC of the North America Soccer League. To this day, his ‘Nesta’ sobriquet is widely used over his Muslim name.

‘I hope the fans will continue to support me in my new career. I hope to return home and give something back to my country by helping to keep my nation fit and healthy by leading by example, and giving health and fitness advice and training.’

Taking up fitness modeling comes with a massive task and total discipline, a thing Nesta agrees with.

‘Being a fitness guru takes a lot of discipline. I spend many hours in the gym, and I love to show people how, with a little hard work, they can achieve the body they have always dreamed of. It’s very rewarding helping people to gain confidence in themselves as well as keeping fit .I plan to go to the United Kingdom to continue with my qualifications so I can offer more to my clients’

While he may not have reached the height he dreamed of in the lucrative trade of football, the African U-17 Championship gold medal winner 2009, still looks back at his Career in Valur with fondness.

‘Of course playing for Valur was a success. But success is not a destination. it’s only another way to travel. I’m just travelling a different path now and I’m thankful for having the opportunity not only to have played for Valur ,but have had the great honour of representing my country I’m proud of my achievements in football; And I’m looking forward to many more in my new career as a fitness guru.

Up next for a budding Jobe is to grace the covers of elite magazines, a craft he targets to so devotedly cling on.