From U-17 Gold Medal Winner to Body Building: Matarr Jobe’s Journey to Fitness Modeling
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Being a fitness guru takes a lot of discipline. I spend many hours in the gym, and I love to show people how, with little hard work, they can achieve the body they have always dreamed of,”[/perfectpullquote]
Matarr Jobe, a former footballer turned body builder, says this not without an air of confidence.
Seen in a routine near back-breaking exercise in one of his videos, he lifts a 200kg bar strapped to his shoulders before taking a minute sabbatical to charge at a 450kg weight for 6-8 reps – gym acronym for repetition – in an excruciating leg workout.
His workout partner’s mouth dropped open when a profusely sweating Jobe announced a 200kg squat session. Call it self-punishment –as it may as well fit – but this is the former no-nonsense defender’s newfound trade as gruesome as it is.
“It’s very rewarding helping people to gain confidence in themselves as well as keeping fit. I plan to go to the United Kingdom to continue with my qualifications so I can offer more to my clients,” the 24-year-old tells me from Reykjavík, Iceland’s administrative capital home to a bustling over 200,000 inhabitants.
Had Matarr had his way, things would have played out differently. After clutching gold with Gambia’s U-17s in Caf’s Orange Youth Championship staged in Algeria in 2009, Matarr departed Banjul the following year to try out professional football. His first stop was the Nordic country a journey first beginning on a prepossessing note, landing a contract with capital-based Valur FC.
A lone spell out to second tier Vikingur Olasfsvik meant to equip the youngster with rigours of first team football, followed. He became the club’s heartbeat in a back-four once notorious for shipping in goals in tremendous numbers. There, he proved a big fish in a pond prompting his recall to Valur’s squad at expiry of his loan deal.
An impressive pre-season and few rounds of top flight games, it was hoped, was all he needed to get off to a flyer as a new dawn beckoned. That did happen. However, the inevitable that would later trigger truncation of his career began to creep in. The defender sustained a gruesome knock on his knee. From rehabilitation to recuperation, what followed was more a pattern of one week in the football pitch and another on the treatment table.
Successive bouts of injuries to his knee, most of them severe recurrences, forced Jobe into toying the idea of hanging up his barely five years since penning professional terms.
Resigned to too much winching in agony, a condition triggered by an inflammation on his abrasion, the then 23-year-old thought he’d had enough and in the confines of room decided, on a certain fine day, to call it quits.
Announcement of the first Gambia player to taste football wasters of Iceland retiring at a time Gambia’s biggest player is a certain Mustapha Carayol in the English championship, came much as a shock, in it with a myriad of sympathies.
Post-football life can be as dramatic and traumatic. There’s also the depression part of it. But Matarr – tagged the biggest defence prospect in the Caf Youth 2009 Championship – would rather take up a new trade than cut a gloomy desolate figure in indulged self-pity.
‘It was really a tough decision to quit football,’ he says.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I have undergone two surgeries on my knee and neither has been successful. Football was my life and has given me a great experience playing for my country which I am very proud of and in Iceland. But unfortunately, my knee is never going to be the same. So I decided to put all my energies into fitness training and create a new career for myself.”[/perfectpullquote]
He went on: ‘it wasn’t my body that couldn’t handle the football anymore, it’s only my knee. I’m back to full fitness. I’m still a scorpion at heart, but I have to change career. I’m not going to cry about it. I have to pick myself up dust myself off and be the best I can be at what I love to do and I really love what I’m doing now’
A one-time football business-like no-nonsense defender. His fluidity at the back-four with a touch of slight aggressiveness toward strikers is synonymous among Gambian fans. Such was a his pattern of football that he was likened to Italy retired international Alessandro Nesta, now coach of Miami FC of the North America Soccer League. To this day, his ‘Nesta’ sobriquet is widely used over his Muslim name.
‘I hope the fans will continue to support me in my new career. I hope to return home and give something back to my country by helping to keep my nation fit and healthy by leading by example, and giving health and fitness advice and training.’
Courtesy of Jobe’s facebook page
There is coaching requiring taking up badges. There is also the field of being a football agent, both jobs known to yield thousands of dollars but Jobe opted for body building and fitness modeling. He hopes to set-up his own gym and soon grace covers of elite magazines.
“I’m proud of my achievements in football. I’m looking forward to many more achievements in my new career as a fitness guru,”
The former U-20 skipper already has the body mass and with his newly established YouTube Channel styled as Nesta-boy, he hopes it gets him to places.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of Fótbolti.net