The rise of Sherif – it’s Samba time
Mohammed Sherif, affectionately called Samba, is breaking barriers and covering territories. He does so on an exalted level in Ghana’s elite football division. Every game is now a testimony of his innate gifts to play ball. Rave reviews and praise singing have reached a cresendo and the earlier hype in Tamale, his birth place, meets overwhelming justification from all over. But, just who is Sherif?
Sherif grew up in the Tamale Metropolis, with a unique natural identity people easily related with. A precocious football talent laced with a storied likeability made him a popular kid. His neighbourhood lost its size for his early attention and thus, the town intervened only temporarily. The forest reserve nearby is home to a cluster of sandy fields, on which Sherif honed his talent. He was a cut above his peers and that was common knowledge.
With time, a new field, Assembly Man Park, would be carved out along his street, to host a juvenile league. This was masterminded by the Assembly Member of his area, hence the name of the field. Sherif was one of the youngest players but proved to be one of the most impressive. He was noted for his shot power, energy and heading ability – attributes rarely seen at that age. Imagine the youngest and smallest player in a team being tasked with taking goal-kicks. Such was the trust in him.
Every young talent needs a proper platform to receive coaching. None could provide a better one than Tamale Real Republicans, a legendary Colts club coached by the iconic Alhassan Dawuo. ‘Reps’, as it’s commonly known, is home to a seemingly endless list of fine products that have had careers of varying success. Sherif continued his development under coach Dawuo, raising eyebrows with his performance. He became one of the most talked about youngsters in town.
Even at that age, Samba’s uniqueness stemmed from his versatility. His ability to play in differest positions set him apart and made him a mainstay in the starting team. His burgeoning reputation caught the attention of Division One League side, Tamale Steadfast. He would join the “Gangdu Boys” after a training exercise and take his gifts to a higher level. In hindsight, Steadfast can hardly boast of a more loyal and dependable player. He served the club with distinction and the club served him to the elite.
He would play at centre-back, right-back, right-wingback, midfield and attack and impress. Plus, he would score valuable goals, mostly from headers, to win games for his side. By then, he was a household name in Tamale. His special blend of brilliant passing, accurate shooting, pace, tackling and heading endeared him to the fans. How a player is able to operate in different roles so well, and hardly have a bad day, is surely indicative of greatness.
Everyone knew that Sherif was meant for the top. It was just a matter of time. Kotoko came calling and had their man, at the expense of Premier League returnees RTU and then Brekum Chelsea. It goes without saying that the Kotoko-Sherif marriage was consumated in heaven. The boy is living his dream with the Porcupine Warriors. He finds home in the club and the club finds comfort in him, at least on the field of play.
In his debut Premiership season, Samba is turning heads with his displays on weekly basis. He has found a trustee in coach Prosper Ogum, who is building a fine team at the club. He has deployed his boy across the field and he has lived to the billing. His attributes aside, he has a popular winning mentality and puts all his energy in it. His fighting spirit is as enviable as his sheer confidence.
So now, the earlier hype was not empty after all. It was a barrage of positive remarks heaped on a boy who deserved it. He has become the toast of the fans and duely gets man-of-the-match nominations post games. He has got the media talking. He is attracting attention and hopefully the national teams are watching. Mr. Versatile, one of his new names, is rising. Make no mistake, the rise is equipped with ingredients to sustain it. The biggest ingredient is the power of God, followed by talent and a burning desire to make the most of it.