By Sulayman Bah
A dream transfer to the coveted English Premier League, the German Bundesliga or the Italian Serie A is the audacious ambition of rocky defender Bubacarr Sanneh in two years.
Such hopes are realised only on the back of sheer industriousness and this youngster looks cut out for the big occasion.
‘I’m dreaming to play in the next years in England, Italy or Germany. These three countries are my target God willing, but I want to first play in the Super League’ the 21-year-old says.
For now though, the focus is on living the dream of catapulting his second division club to the elite of Danish football –an outlined plan that’s not off the road as third-placed AC Horsens sits within the promotion slots.
Bubacarr and teammates are preoccupied with refueling their energies as the league looks to re-start following a near three-month mid-season sabbatical spanning December last year.
Top on the agenda is climbing to the Super League but AC Horsens have found themselves in an inevitable situation on the heels of their defence’s unquestionable displays with the Gambian ace a major influence in that position.
Sanneh is Horsen’s biggest prized asset amid a blizzard of interest from clubs in Europe and the Super league, all ardent on securing his services. Talks of top sides’ interest could potentially turn the head of a young player but the former Real de Banjul captain is not letting that become any source of distraction.
‘There’re many offers for me but am not eager to take anyone of them or to get stressed about it. Right now I’m very happy in Horsens and I want see myself with Horsens in the Super League in this summer, by the grace of God.’
‘I’m sure we can be promoted to the Super Liga because the team has quality players and there is competition. Now nobody wants to sit on the bench. Myself I’m working harder now to get played week in week out. having a fixed place is no guarantee I am safe.
Seventeen months ago, this enterprising footballer was only a local hero, playing in sands and barely trimmed Bahamas, for a pitch, with Real de Banjul before Denmark football beckoned. Back home, young players could lose their heads when a proposed transfer to a certain European club fails.
And for that, Buba tells me, the deal was brokered without his knowledge with club president Willy Abraham and Swede agent Micheal Karllback the architects.
The then-19-year-old only got to know of a move lying in waiting to Scandinavia when informed just after he won the Gambia Football League Premier League title. The agreement was one of a loan subject to a permanent transfer depending on performances.
‘It was a miracle when I heard that I have to go on loan in a team called AC Horsens. Willy (Abraham) and my agent Micheal Kallback were running everything without me being aware. So I was so excited to move to Europe and so was looking forward to stepping my foot there.’
Getting signed to a foreign club is the dream but with it comes the challenges of adaptation –trying to cut it at a level streets apart from the bing-bang game in Gambia.
Fresh from arriving, he was shooed into the 18-man roster of a Cup competition by gaffer Bo Henriksen, curious to test his latest arrival’s potential. However the proposed debut had to be put off until the contest against league leaders Viborg when Henrikson summoned Sanneh to his office.
‘The coach called me in his office and told me ‘Viborg tops our league. So is going be your chance to show people what you can do’. But he wasn’t having 100% confidence in me. I said ‘don’t worry just sit and watch what will happen’. The players told me too ‘we believe in you’. So I came on and scored –it was a fantastic game. Prior to that game, I had the feeling I was going to score’
That cameo, was the turning point and in the subsequent matches, coach Henrikson was spoilt for choice often ‘confused’ which defender to start. But Sanneh stood out paving the way for a run of fifteen games in his first spell; and it was unsurprising when fans voted him their best player.
‘That award shows that I have a big part to play in the team. Since then, I always take it that I’m playing to make fans happy.’
‘I can only thank God for making it possible, without Him I’m powerless. And my mum Fatoumatta Saidyleigh and friends. When I arrived here everybody was welcoming, the club staffs and players helped to settle down.’
Bubacarr Sanneh is eager to stake his spot in the Scorpions line up when all is set and done for resumption of Gambia’s qualifier campaign for Gabon.
The Denmark-based defender is a sought-after property amongst top clubs in the Super League and is one of most revered centre-backs in the Scandinavian country’s second division.
However, it’s a total different storyline for the 21-year-old with the Gambia national team where he’s reduced to a spectator on the substitutes’ bench.
Being voted fans best player of the year in a debut season could earn one automatic place in any line, in some teams. But for former coach Raoul Savoy, experience presides over youthful exuberance. And when the Swiss coach preferred four veterans in the Scorpions’ back-four there was mumbling, largely from Sanneh’s hordes of supporters. Mercifully, not much goals were let in, appearing to validate the coach’s preference.
Dubbed Timber, a nickname accorded to him by fans referencing his no-nonsense brilliant piece of defending, Sanneh managed to feature in an official game only once in the World Cup first-leg qualifier duel against Namibia in Banjul. And in that brief cameo, he played a part in the build-up to Gambia’s equalizing goal but as Raoul will have it, he was still on the bench in the second-leg in Windhoek.
Sanneh though is hoping his days of being overlooked are over, seeing the appointment of Sang Ndong as fresh start.
‘Well is a great moment to be called to represent my country because that’s the dream of every player. But to me, I was not having enough chances to play in the team. I have already shown what I’m capable of in 2014, against Tanzania,’ he says. ‘But you know, every coach has his own way of working even though it’s unpleasant a bit.’
‘I always sacrifice, leave my team playing and come for Gambia but I end up being on the bench. But yet still I’m a footballer I have to accept it. Hope I get playing time soon (this time),’ the former Real de Banjul stopper tells Foroyaa Sport from Denmark, Horsens.
Gambia’s booting at the preliminary round of the World Cup for Russia tempted the federation to pull the trigger on Savoy. But prior to that, news of reported rift in the camp including some certain player’s failure to deliver, clouded the team.
‘I think our problem is on us (the) players. If they invite you to come and play, (try) sacrifice by all means to give out what you can (in the field). We players need to change things for Gambia in terms of football now. Is the high time. It’s football that made them (the federation and coach) send us the tickets to come over. So we have to play and live up to fans expectation of us.’
The Scorpions take on Mauritania next month, an outfit that stunned big guns South Africa to go second in the standings.
With test matches for the new coach out of the cards giving there are no FIFA dates between that time, the task to upstage Mauritania likely in Senegal –for the first tie – is a project not keen out of the doldrums staunch critics would say.
About the new man at the managerial helm and the coming clash, Bubacarr summed it up this way: ‘the game against Mauritania is in the corner. There should have been a test game for the coach to fish out the areas he needs to develop including the team structure too. Sang Ndong, I hear is a good coach but I have never played under him. I believe though with him, we can achieve what we want with his assistant -my ex-coach. May Allah join we players and his luck together.’