AFCON 2021: A refugee selected by Gambia

AFCON 2021: A refugee selected by Gambia


His story is quite singular. It's almost unheard of. He is certainly not the first African to turn his destiny around in the right direction. But Ebrima Darboe is still frozen in his thoughts. No doubt retracing all the hard work he has endured to get to where he is today.

Ebrima Darboe will play in the African Cup of Nations with Gambia (9 January-6 February). The trajectory of the current AS Roma player in Italian Serie A is just surreal. He went from refugee to professional footballer. Who would have thought it?

Ebrima Darboe decided to flee the hardships of his native Gambia at the age of 14. He left his parents and friends behind and headed for the unknown. After six months in Libya and then Italy, the Scorpion was able to find his lucky star and was helped by a social worker who took him under his wing. He was then settled in the town of Rieti, in central Italy.

It was in the small local club where he began to learn his trade. His talent as a footballer did the rest. The Roma scouts fell under the spell of Ebrima Darboe. Rieti was too small for such a talent. So they head for : Rome.

"Four to five years ago in Africa, I used to watch the players on TV''
Ebrima Darboe began his career with the youngsters of AS Roma. It wasn't long before he was in the first team. That was against Milan in October 2019. Even if he did not play, he had the merit of having joined the pros of Roma so quickly. In fact, he had his first match with the senior team against Sampdoria on 2 May. Since then, the youngster has continued to grow in stature at the Stadio Olimpico. "Four or five years ago, I was in Africa, watching the players on television. And today I was playing against some of them. So I was very excited," Darboe told the Italian press. "I want to thank the coaches, Paulo Fonseca and Alberto De Rossi, and all the people who have coached me since I've been here," continued the midfielder. However, the Serrekunda native has only played one game this season in Serie A.

Gambia are in Group F with Mauritania, Mali and Tunisia.

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