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How a former Sierra Leonean child-soldier became a professional Footballer: the true story of Yayah Kallon

Hellas Verona has just signed Sierra Leoenean player OFFICIALYayah Kallon

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Escape from Sierra Leone, in which Yayah Kallon risked becoming a child-soldier; the impervious transfer to the Libya; the journey of hope towards Lampedusa, in the ways we all know through the news. And then, Alexandria. The intuition of the observers of the Genoa, the first audition. The Savonafinally Genoa, the injury … then, the A league.

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The incredible story of Yayah Kallon it is a continuous roller coaster and it looks like the script of a film that, after a tortuous central part, is perhaps finding its conclusion with a happy ending.


Kallon was born in 2001 a Kono Sierra Leone – one of the largest states poor to the world – formerly involved in deals with of human beings and, in more recent times, shocked by conflicts armed. In particular, the civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002. In reality, however, the clashes did not stop completely: the young Yayah knows this well, who only 14 years he decides to evade the call to arms to pursue a great dream, that of becoming a soccer player professional: parents are convinced and he part.

Cross the Africa from inside on foot, arriving in Libya later 8 months: they told him there are men there who can get him in Italy. Indeed, Yayah arrives in Lampedusa, with the risks and fears we have seen repeatedly told by the media. From there, she moved to Cassinein the bottom Piedmont, in the province of Alessandria. Now she can chase her dream.


Kallon is noticed by the observers of Genoa, who included him in a training session for the National Students (lever 2001) on the field of Arenzano. Yayah shows up in the locker room on tiptoe, greets everyone, sits in a corner and wears his worn-out shoes: it looks like one of many auditions that pass from the youth teams of the big teams.

On the lawn, however, he surprises everyone: low center of gravity, all left-handed, strength and explosiveness disarming. Mister Luca Chiappino he rolls his eyes; a raw talent to cultivate. Genoa, however, cannot register it immediately due to bureaucratic problems and turn it to Savonawhere he remains for a season and also takes away the satisfaction of being part of the representative of Series D at the Tournament of Viareggio.


A year later, she welcomes him back into Spring Chiappino at Genoa. Kallon begins to unleash his natural talent: he likes to start from the right, enter the field with mind-boggling serpentines around opponents and download broadsides left towards the door. Despite a injury to the fibula that holds it to box for a long time in the first season, the statistics are still encouraging: in the league Spring 1 plays 41 matches, embellished with 12 goals e 15 assist. He was awarded for his growth and on May 22, 2021, on the last day of Serie A, he made his debut among professionals in a Cagliari-Genoa 0-1, playing 44 minutes.


Last season is that of affirmation. Yayah Kallon joins the squad of First team of Genoa with stability. Plays 15 league games, seasoned by 2 assist. One of them is absolutely spectacular: against the Turin toOlympictriggered as usual from the right, after a couple of feints of the body accelerates in a lightning-fast way, enters the area and serves with a millimeter pass Caicedo, which marks. Two appearances, a goal and an assist also in Italian Cup: the network against the Perugiawith left-handed in turn that slips under the seven on the far post, has made the rounds of social.

Now, theHellas decided to bring it back in A league and focus on him for later Barakin the process of arriving at the Fiorentina. The transfer formula is the loan with right of redemption. Kallon can play from second striker, from right winger to inverted foot, or even from first striker; we will see if this season he will be able to conquer a demanding square like Veronaor it will return to the base at the end of the agreement.

The article is in Italian

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