By Alhagie Jobe
Gambia’s national women’s football team goalkeeper has died last week in a tragic boat accident while trying to take the dangerous route to reach Europe with other African migrants from Libya.
Fatim Jawara-Jawara, 19-year-old drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe from Libya last week, with the hopes of reaching Lampedusa, south of Italy when their boat capsized.
Her death was confirmed by the Gambia Football Federation after the player paid to facilitate her departure from Libya contacted the Federation.
Her family confirmed news of her death, according to Gambia Football Federation president Lamin Kaba Bajo.
“I received the news and it really shocked me,” said Gambia Football Federation President Lamin Kaba Bajo said in a statement.
“The young girl was very talented and on the move for greener pastures but the way she died is just shocking. She will be remembered for saving a penalty kick in a friendly encounter involving the national soccer team and the Glasgow Girls from Scotland. We at the GFF are very sad about the development and on behalf of the Gambia Football Federation, I want to send our condolences to the family of the girl and her former club Red Scorpions.”
Jawara-Jawara was part of the Gambian team that made history, putting the country’s name on the map in the women’s U-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan in 2012. She played for first division champions, the Red Scorpions, and starred in Gambia’s thrashing of a visiting Scottish female side Glasgow Girls FC months ago.
Up to 3,740 migrants have either been confirmed dead or missing in efforts to cross to Europe by boat in October 2016, according to the U.N. refugee agency. Many of the undocumented migrants who arrive in Italy are Gambians.