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Gambia’s Ebrima Sohna is All Smiles After a Fierce Fight With Former Kuwait Club

Caught in a dilemma that left him red-faced, Ebrima Sohna’s life for the past six months has been something close to hellish.

If he had his way, the 28-year-old would have been doing what he does best; plying his most loved trade in football but the frustrating circumstances regarding his future, kept him off the pitch as well as desolate.

The former Africa Youth Championship winner recently took the bull by the horns and sued Kuwait’s Premier League side Al Arabi. His reason; the Gulf-based club breached the very regulations they agreed to adhere to. The move to FIFA followed after the club failed to honor its contract with the player.

When the 28-year-old midfielder joined The Greens Trophies on a free transfer in January 2016, he was viewed as something of a marquee signing, considering his participation in the U-17 and U-20 Youth World Cups in 2005 and 2008 respectively, which brought with them huge experience in addition to having stints in the top tiers leagues of Norway, Kazakhstan, and Finland.

Even though he is a combative midfielder, Sohna’s first goal for the side did not come until April of the same year. But it was no fuss. However, trouble began brewing six months later when the capital side failed to reply to letters of inquiry from the player’s representatives. It was later revealed that Sohna was owed three-months’ salary which the club only paid after FIFA intervened.

Apparently vexed by the Gambian’s step to involve the world football governing body, Al Arabai sought to punish its star player by ostracizing him from the coach’s pre-season plans. The side’s board did not contact the player for the proposed pre-season campaign in Turkey, leaving the hard-tackling former Sandefjord man in limbo.

Al Arabi’s hierarchy did not offer to explain its version of events either, at least publicly, and so Sohna’s side of the story hugged the headlines.

In those torrid times, Monte Areo Sports –the agency the player is attached to –had written letters without getting a reply urging the Kuwait Premier League outfit to pay its client.

Numerous African players faced with the same situation, have given up in the past any attempt to claim their dues forcing them to leave Kuwait-based clubs indebted. The painstaking but prolonging efforts involved in pursuing such cases with little chance of winning such suits before FIFA has discouraged many.

However, Sohna was not going to be a roll-over and chose to pursue the case further which took him another six months before he finally won. Luzerne-based FIFA eventually rebuked Al Arabi in its letter to the club asking its management to pay the aforesaid player $400,000 in damages.

The verdict, delivered at the end of last month, came with a huge sigh of relief and marked an end to Sohna’s link with the club.

The ex-Wallidan playmaker –yet to be recalled to the Gambia nation team since Sang Ndong’s appointment as coach – has been training with local clubs in Gambia since October 2016, to keep his fitness levels up.

Days following FIFA’s ruling, The Scorpion secured himself, new employers, as he returned to Finnish football, switching to Vaasan Palloseura (VPS) on a free transfer.

He was acquired on an 8-month contract elapsing December 31st, 2017 with a reported option to extend at season’s end.

While the latest move is a sign Sohna will be back to doing what he does best, the midfielder-cum-defender is not out of the woods yet with his work permit still to be fully settled. The 2005 African Youth Championship winner is at the moment training with his new teammates as he awaits the Finnish FA for his working permit papers.

Reacting to his situation, the star said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I thank God for winning my case and to give me a new team. If you have anything going on with your life just pray to God and believe.”[/perfectpullquote]



Featured photo: Wikipedia

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