A Gambian footballer has revealed the shock he faced after he signed a deal in China which included the Asian country’s food.
Pa Dibba joined Shenzhen in June 2018 from Swedish first division club Hammarby for a fee believed to be over 33,000,000 Gambian dalasis.
The pay was a lucrative for Dibba who was the top scorer in the Scandinavian country’s premier league then after scoring seven times in the early days of that campaign.
The Chinese league is cash-loaded and Dibba, being the club best paid player, had hoped the new challenge would be an easy ride until he received stern warning on his first day from his coach for coming late.
He grew homesick, incurred fines over 200,000 and found the food rather strange throughout his time there much like majority foreign players had to begin with.
“In Shenzhen, it was very strict and the rules were very sick. After each workout, we had to stay for an hour and a half for everyone to eat together. But we who were foreigners could not eat the Chinese food. It wasn’t good because we trained very hard, almost twice as hard as in Sweden. I was just there for the presence (the money). The decision was that of the club for the team to spend time with each other. You had to pay quite large sums if you arrived too late,” he said.
Now playing in the Turkish second division, the 32-year-old played four times for Gambia against South Africa and twice with Mauritania.