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A Player to watch from Tombo: Mohamed Baraja Kabia a star in the making

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Mohamed Baraja Kabia is a household name in the peninsular. He was born on the 14th of July 1999. The 20-year-old player for the past 15 years in  Freetown, Waterloo, Kenema, and Tombo has been arguably at his highest peak, to say the least. A team icon who keeps on enjoying the best time of his career, at FC Zizou football club where he started his football career he preferably played as a central midfielder who has crazy dribbling skills, tackling techniques, shooting power, accurate passing and also the power of cuddling the ball to how he wants it. At age 7 when he started playing street football with his friends, he became popular amongst his age mates that was where he was named “Baraja”. He is a box to box midfielder just like Ruben Baraja the retired Valencia midfielder who enjoyed football at its peak. He has capped over 300 matches both for his club teams and his town team (Tombo Stars).

Mohamed Baraja in his Tombo community.

Baraja’s first match as a Tombo Stars player, the head coach decided to convert him as a central defender immediately when one of the central defenders was red-carded due to an exposed dangerous tackle. Impressively Baraja proved to be just as a better central defender than a central midfielder. His performance on several matches helped him work into defensive looks on different matches for teams like Wanderers FC of Waterloo in which he enjoyed three gold medals and won the individual accolades as the best player in the team for over 3 years. He also played for Milla FC in numerous competitions. He took a turn around in his career when he signed for the Tombo Rangers FC of Tombo community, after so many dominations with the Tombo Rangers FC across the country in non-division leagues they won 4 major trophies that paved way for him to do trials with Port Authority and Mighty Blackpool respectively. He played six friendly matches for Mighty Blackpool they won four matches and drew two in which he played a pivotal role to seal the unbeatable streak during his time. As it will be crucial in defining the twilight years of Mohamed Baraja’s career, so he is always focused and keeps himself safe and healthy.

During an interview with him last week Saturday after his usual training at his Tombo Townfield he said “I have dedicated myself in playing central defense role because I feel safe and secure with my team whenever I defend, I feel like a savior when I do some critical tackling from an opponent at a time when the rest of my teammates have given up”

With such dedication and love for football, when I asked him where he got the inspiration from, he said “ look, I am coming from a community and country where my family and people don’t believe that Football is also a career, they only find pleasure in watching football, but frown at allowing and supporting their children to play the game. They are my inspiration, I want them to watch me too. I want to prove them wrong so that I can pave way for other kids so that someday, they will use Mohamed as an example when convincing their parents if they want to choose Football as a career. That is my goal that is my agenda that is my inspiration”

 His talent has brought some excitement in Tombo Stars’ locker room with his persuasive and leadership qualities to settle problems among colleagues and bring motivation to them. He said.  ”I am not only a player in my team, but I am also a peacemaker, I strongly believe we can only win a match when we are together both in and out of the pitch of play”

With the resolution of last year’s drastic clean-up in Tombo Stars team and the infusion of fresh talent, there’s a lot to comb over in how he is going to fit in the defending line. Through his outstanding performance in the defensive line, they have kept six straight clean sheets won five games and one goalless draw.   

As a safety that has been on the field in every game this year, Mohamed Baraja has been entirely impressive. His aggressive tackling and solid coverage skills have brought some credence and confidence to the team, as he is under no pressure to worry about being a starter, his audition to make the roster is always impactful than others and always ready to give more than required to the team.

It’s a foregone conclusion that this flawless defender is readily ready to give more to football and still has a lot of space to improve. As he always says it’s not over until it’s over.

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Festus Conteh

Festus has been volunteering in writing stories of social issues at both community and the country at large. Festus was looking to secure a brand new opportunity in an innovative, friendly atmosphere where he can utilize his soft skills and in-depth knowledge in story writing. He can also write a project proposal of any kind.

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