Darboe gives lengthy interview about traumatic past leading up to Roma career

Ebrima Darboe and Jose Mourinho of AS Roma
Andy Mattioli

Ebrima Darboe, currently away at AFCON with the Gambian national team, was recently interviewed by Radio France International. The 20-year-old midfielder spoke at length about his traumatic past experiences that led up to his eventual footballing career.

“As a child I wanted to play in Europe, become famous and play for my country. I knew I was going to be a pro, I didn’t think it would happen so soon, that’s all.”

“Playing the African Cup with Gambia is a dream come true. A great dream. A dream in which I believed even though I knew it was going to be difficult. But I have always believed that one day Gambia would play in this cup, and why not even the World Cup one day.”

“It is not the talent that is lacking there, but the means, and now more and more young Gambians have the opportunity to show off. The players of the national team are today an example that will inspire young people even more for years to come.”

“I think I made it because of the faith I had and continue to have in myself. I strongly believed in it. I had faith in my qualities and I knew I could be successful. For this to happen it was necessary to leave Gambia by all means.”

“I don’t know if I would have succeeded if I had stayed, but I felt I had to leave. It took a lot of courage to make that trip to Italy and to get to where I am today.”

“From the day I left my home in Gambia the journey was very difficult. I can’t even say everything I’ve been through. I’ve had moments where I just wanted to go back home.”

“But I couldn’t. I had chosen to leave, going back was out of the question. It’s like a one-way street, when you go you can’t go back. And it is even more risky to resume the way back after all.”

“I almost gave up in Libya, in a detention camp. I had been tortured, I had been mistreated. I ate two slices of bread a day. We were held there because the people we paid had not given the money to the human traffickers.”

“It lasted more than a week, but it was very tough. We were helped in order to get by, our families sent us money and we were able to pay for our release. So I embarked to reach Sicily with other migrants, Senegalese, Malians, Sudanese, and others.”

“When I set foot in Italy, I thanked God thousands of times. I could not have experienced anything worse than what I had already experienced for six months on this trip. It was not possible.”

“My goal was to go back to school, do everything to be successful in football or get a job. I was well received in Italy, they put me in school and a year later I met people who worked in football and who noticed my talent.”

“And now I play for Jose Mourinho. When I learned that he was going to coach Roma it was like a dream, I shivered. I said to myself: ‘No, it can’t be the same Mourinho I was watching on TV in Gambia in Barça-Real?’ I could imagine everything in my life except being coached by José Mourinho.”

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MatchDay 38
26 May 20:45