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Gambia, which will participate in its very first CAN in January, can count on a revelation: its striker Assan Ceesay. The FC Zurich striker, who scored a quadruple in the Swiss league on October 3, scored three goals in two games for the Gambian side this week, before being decisive again with his club on Saturday.
Always that formidable left foot. Always that disarming smile. Facing Sion on October 3, Assan Ceesay shines. He scored that day a quadrupled, and even added an assist to his performance (6-2). Still on his cloud, the striker then continues with the Gambian selection: he scores all his own goals in the two friendly matches organized this week (2-1 defeat against Sierra Leone, 2-0 victory against South Sudan) .
The charm operates, especially on his coach Tom Saintfiet: “ Assan Ceesay is the best striker in Gambia history! “Ignites the Belgian coach. ” It was he who scored the most important goal, that of qualifying for the CAN last March against Angola. When you give him confidence, he gives it back to the team. It is very appreciated by the players. In the past 50 years, we have never had such a player. He can be very proud of this ».
A Gambian nugget formed in Senegal
A pride that erases years of hardship in his Gambian youth, but also during his first seasons in Europe.
At 27, Assan Ceesay is finally thriving. ” I live for times like this! Finally the wheel turns for me, appreciates the native of Banjul. Moments like that, you never know how long it’s going to last. You have to savor. I started football when I was very young in The Gambia. In Africa we always learn football in the street. We have natural talents, and then we go to academies, to take advantage of good equipment. I went to Casa Sports in Senegal. It was great, it helped me so much to become a good player ».
He left Senegal and West Africa for Switzerland, at the age of 22: “ I learned a lot, and I am proud to have worn the colors of this great Casa Sports club, before leaving for Switzerland, in Lugano. Everywhere I went, I learned. In Senegal, in Switzerland… I am still learning elsewhere. In this country, it is very different from The Gambia and Senegal. I love life here, everyone goes their own way, regardless of others. It’s a peaceful country and I feel very good there ».
Loans in the second division before the outbreak
Swiss calm suited him well when he arrived in 2016. But he struggled to win, whether in Lugano or Zurich. Ceesay is even loaned, in the Swiss and German second division.
However, he is now the second top scorer in the championship with the Zurich residents. An outbreak that no one had seen coming, not even Simon Duplain, editor of the Foot Suisse Twitter account: ” Assan Ceesay is transformed, rejoices the Swiss observer. Like Zurich, which was having difficult seasons, it has really taken a step forward. We see a much more incisive Ceesay appear! As a follower of the Swiss championship, that really surprised me. He already has 8 goals and 4 assists in 10 games this season. He has therefore already broken his personal best in the Super League, while only a third of the championship was played ».
Confirm at CAN
Performing in club and in selection, Assan Ceesay has only one idea in mind: to shine in January until the next one African Cup of Nations, for the baptism of fire of the Scorpions.
« The African Cup, our first CAN, it’s going to be a special moment for the country and our players. I can’t wait to start this adventure. I want to go there, I fight for The Gambia. It’s very exciting and our morale is at the top. We want people to say to themselves “The Gambia had a great CAN”. We can’t afford to be afraid even if we play against Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania. We are not afraid of anyone, we are ready ».
His coach Tom Saintfiet agrees: “ Assan is evolving at a great level. I am absolutely sure he will score in CAN! All of Africa, and maybe even the whole world will know Assan Ceesay ».
Assan Ceesay therefore has a golden opportunity to make a name for himself.