Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Saul Marreh: My Goal is to Play in the First Team


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By Sulayman Bah

Sulayman Marreh has spent three years with Laliga’s Granada since a sanctioned move from Gambian Premier saul-marrehLeague club Samger.

That deal, quickly rubberstamped the moment it became apparent that the Anadalusian-based outfit are firm in their pursuit of the Gambian youngster, it was hoped, marked the dawn of a new era in the career of the defensive midfielder. That hope still hasn’t faded amongst fans even though the player has yet to rise to expectations. He had shown glimpses of what it’s all about him that drew the drive of Granada’s board to sign him.

Italy Serie A fallen giants Inter Milan’s revived interest in the defensive pass-maker forced the Spanish club to firmly keep an eye on their Gambian prized possession whose true value they’re still yet to see.

Then Ivory Coast captain Didier Zakora, convinced by what’s he’d seen in the Elephants 3-0 pounding of Gambia, extolled Marreh tipping him to bask into stardom in the future.

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Undeniably, a pure talent. ‘Suly’ as club teammates would prefer calling him, has been on the wrong end of the pitch from the day he arrived at Granada, principally, to bout of injuries that doesn’t just seem to give the starlet breathing space.

In 2014, he pumped his impact in the reserves set up who are confined to Spain’s third tier raking up thirteen appearances, eleven of those as a starter clocking a total eight hundred and forty-four minutes.

Joaquín Caparrós –current coach of Osasuna – is a keen watcher, quickly handing Marreh the platform to mix with the A-teamers and it was no surprise when the 61-year-old included the Gambian in his pre-season plans before giving him his much awaited debut against Rayo Vallecano.

Witnessed by 19,000 spectators at the Estadio Nuevo Carmernes, the second biggest crowd the then 19-year-old has ever played under after Gambia v Ivory Coast, Marreh did not look out of place on his Laliga debut but got replaced by Roben Rochina at half-time. That game sealed the end to his first team chances with a hamstring injury later sustained barely aiding his progress.

The following campaign he recovered to play 18 times, his biggest run of game in a league term, but a serious injury requiring surgery meant he wouldn’t come any near the round object till eight months later. Sulayman would resume club duties October, last month, for the first time marking his return to the Reserves with an improbable goal in the Segunda B (third division).

It was an emotional return from a career threatening abrasion, a moment worth the long wait.

‘Right now I feel very good and very comfortable with my knee. I am very surprised because I did not expect to be stronger; But I’m ready and ready to play. I only lack a little bit in physique,’ the ex-Abuko United star-man says.

‘When someone has ambition, self-confidence and hard work, you can always get what you want. I am very grateful to the doctors, family and friends who supported me during the eight months of my recovery’

He is yet to play since start of November having sat out the last two weeks with a minor knock but remain buoyed. His return to the field couldn’t have been better news for Granada B who are beset by straight four loses. For Marreh though, he has a bigger ambition –to return to the A team and play Laliga football this season.

‘I always expect something special. I work hard every day to get the chance. If you are in Granada B you always think about finishing the year in the first team, and that is everyone’s goal’

Playing in the first team will be all that will top his priorities to persuade the club board that he’s worth an extended contract with his four-year deal due to elapse December next year.

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