Parading a legend, superstar, a master technician and gaindeh park; the heart and soul of Real De Banjul

May 31, 2021, 12:41 PM

A group of school boys returned from playing in Thies, Senegal and decided to come together and form what was then Benson and Hedges and later Real De Banjul.

Climaxing to the clubs fiftieth birthday it is beyond appropriate to parade and salute the greatest midfielder in Gambian football and by far, the fiercest competitor I have ever seen and covered as a Journalist.

Day in and out, Saihou Sarr, Number 10 in all whites brought the best from number 10 Ingram Street to 81 Lancaster and unto Box Bar Stadium. Lean back and follow me on this ride as I serenade the best there ever was.

Partnered with Yusupha Sibi and Musa Njie, they were the best midfield trio in Gambian football and their football acumen and prowess will never be replicated.

Every Sunday, they were the much acclaimed Real De Banjul midfielders that were idols for spectators.

These three played the best football in Gambian football and invented "the Sandang", a Real De Banjul original holding the ball for six minutes without interruption to the detriment of opposing teams; never ever replicated and will stay that way for generations.

In all the showmanship, the catalyst Saihou Sarr did the dirty job with grace and humility; the latter, a trait football pundits believe derailed his success as a professional; but that's Saihou, humble and modest!

After leading Real De Banjul to five consecutive league Championships (1970 to 1975) and four FA Cup championships, both feats that was to be never repeated to this day which premises my argument that Real is the best team in Gambian history; Saihou left for Norway to pursue Coaching.

Upon completion he returned to The Gambia and took control of our national team. As depicted in my book, Saihou's tenure as Coach of the national team were the brightest days in Gambian football.

He quickly changed the way the team played and brought in younger players that went on to become greats in Gambian football. Just to mention a few, Peter Prom, Louis Thorpe, Joe Sambou, Ebou Dubois, Aziz Corr, Amadou Adam's, Sheikh Ndure, Sang Ndong, Mustapha Minteh, Star Janneh, Babou Touray; these were the young faces he brought in as he gradually retired a lot of veterans, a move that ultimately climaxed Gambian football.

Along the way, he played too as player/coach, a move that to this day has been up for conjecture in that generation, but again it depends who you ask; as long as its not Njok Malik and Frankie Dodou Taal.

His humility and modesty can always serve to recall his humble beginnings; where the strong virtue that groomed many of us may have emanated from. Personally, I can say, win or loose as the national team coach, Saihou Sarr was always available to me to answer questions. He will be the first one to admit that, I came with tough questions from the fans; and I can say, He was always graceful and on point.

While our country has never considered honoring Saihou, today, I speak for all football fans of our generation. For his services to our republic, he deserves the insignia of The Grand Commander of The Republic of The Gambia (GCRG) with no questions asked.

He is very deserving of this honor. With great nostalgia, I recall his 1974 goal against Goalkeeper Abdoulaye keita in Banjul (Post E Primet.). That goal is for the ages, it went down as one of the best ever, it was a "ROCKET FROM SPACE"; according to Saul Njie.

The way Saihou was able to change ball control and possession in Gambia is forever engraved in many memories. We are grateful for his services, and Yes, Gaindeh Park is the greatest that ever donned the Real De Banjul all White.

Jerrejef Sarra Mundu! I am proud to call you a big brother who encouraged me to be the best at what I did. Even where situations were not pleasant at times, you were always the consumate professional and If I had to do another interview at your house on Stanley Street, I would, also  eat the benachin again while you were at nafilla with ramadan in the horizon. Thanks for the memories Coach, you are a Statesman in every shape of the word. Gachengalama!

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