By Ousman Sillah
Alhaji Ebrima Jobe, alias Mbat, had his last breath on Tuesday evening after a brief illness and was laid to rest yesterday, 10 June, 2020 at the Latrikunda Yiriing’ anya cemetery where a large crowd of mourners comprising relatives, age mates, neighbours, social and sporting fraternity friends and other from far and wide converged to pay their last respects.
Gambia and Gambians need to adopt and nurture the culture of appreciating, celebrating and honouring pioneers and those who have done their part in serving society in various capacities whilst they are both alive and when they have departed this world. One of these sons and daughters, who deserve a national honour and tribute, is the late ‘Mbat’ who together with his colleagues are the pioneers of the sporting game of Basketball in the Gambia and have been representing the country in international tournaments.
According to Ismaila Jobe, his younger sibling, the late Mbat, who is said to have died at the age of 70 years, was born in Banjul and went to St. Mary’s Primary School and later proceeded to the ultra-modern Crab Island Secondary, both in Banjul, in the fifties and sixties. “It was at Crab Island that the young ‘Mbat’, in the company of his school mates in the likes of Modou Njie, Sengan Ndow, Baaba Sillah, Mam Essa Gaye and the others, demonstrated his exceptional skills in basketball under the skilful hands of their trainer Cherno Bara Touray,” said the brother.
He said his late elder brother got the name ‘Mbat’ from the basketball game because of his extraordinary skills as one of one of the best players of his time as player in both the Foyer Basketball Team and the Gambia National Team.
Another brother, Seedy Jobe, said the country should have honoured Mbat a very long time for what he had done in successfully representing his country at international basketball tournaments to the point of attracting the attention of the team managers of other West African countries who wanted to sign him to play for their teams. “Mbat never wanted to leave his country to play for teams of other countries who were desperately seeking for him, such as Senegal, Mauritania and Mali,” he said.