Monday, June 17, 2024

Dream Chasing: Gambia’s 19-Year-Old Agie Jallow Breaks Barriers In A Male Dominated Game

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

In The Gambia, football is a sport that is predominantly dominated by men and is often perceived as a game that is solely meant for boys. Unfortunately, many female footballers face the challenge of being stereotyped and not being taken seriously. Despite these challenges, Agie Jallow, a 19-year-old female footballer and the captain of the Brikama United Female team, has risen to the top of Gambian football. For Agie, playing on the pitch is just the beginning of her dreams in the game. Despite the odds stacked against her, she has persevered and become a role model for other young girls who aspire to play football professionally.

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At the age of 8, the young and nimble midfielder began paving the way for her dreams as a footballer by joining the Lamin Daranka Primary School team in Lamin. However, being the sole football enthusiast in a family where education is deemed as the top priority, Agie encountered a daunting challenge from her family. Despite her passion for football, she was constantly urged to quit playing and concentrate on her studies, just like her siblings.

“That was a tough moment and beginning for me. My family members are either going to school or working, so they will always advise me to stop football and be like them. But I have a different dream in life which is in me. This has been driving me all this while,” she told TFN.

As with any story of success, Agie demonstrated persistence and unwavering determination to realize her dream of becoming a footballer since she was a young girl. Today, she is not only the captain of a first-division team but also a certified coach who mentors young boys. Despite her family’s initial advice, Agie remained resolute in pursuing her passion, and when asked about her reaction to their counsel, she simply smiled, knowing that her unwavering commitment to her dream had paid off in the end.

“All that I told them was and still is that I will make them proud. Football is dear to me, and I know exactly what I want in the game and how that will help me fulfil my dreams as a citizen of the world. I am still with the conviction I will make them proud and that they will one recall my words in joy”.

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Goes with her moniker Toni Kroos, the star player who created her path through and joined The Gambia Football Federation Division One League female team, Brikama United Football Club. Within a short while in the team, she became the captain of the club. The family, after realising her non-stop hunting for her dreams, started giving Agie support.

As a footballer in the middle of the pitch, Agie jostles for every ball.  She is a good dribbler endowed with skills for long-range passes. She scored and assisted a couple of goals for the Brikama United Female team.

Like the dream of every footballer in the country, Agie has her eyes on becoming a professional footballer in the not-too-distant future and representing The Gambia in the national team.

Dwelling in Brufut, the 19-year-old footballer understands that she will not be playing football all her life. Thus, she began rooting for something in her life that she could depend on after her football career.

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“I know there is life after running on the pitch as a footballer. Knowing that full well, I have started by doing training in coaching and currently, I am a coach of a male team here in Brufut,” the determined Agie said.

She has a basic D license and a C license in Coaching. According to Agie, her understanding and passion for the game will make her a better coach. She explained that she has all that it takes to be a great coach.

When the young Agie amassed her C licence in coaching, she was given a male team in Brufut named Uprising FC. The team plays ‘Naweetan’, a grassroots football competition in the town.

Despite being a female and a young footballer herself, Agie will hone the skills of these boys whenever the season is off and maintain her fitness.

“I keep my fitness with them. Because when I am training them on the pitch, I will do most of the exercises with them. Happily, they are not looking at my age and gender, but looking at me as a coach,” she explained.

Agie’s gigantic dreams do not stop at being a footballer and a football coach but at becoming a football administrator as well. In chasing this, Agie is bracing up to study Public Administration to propel herself academically to another status and be a good football administrator.

“Hopefully, when I graduate with a degree in Public Administration, I can be a good football administrator to help young people in the country realise their dreams”.

According to her, she will stand firm on her dreams of actualizing her dreams in a male-dominated game.

At age 19, Agie is a captain of a female first Division Football Club in The Gambia, a trained football coach with a dream of reading Public Administration soon.

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