Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Battling to Claim a Spot in Anderlecht – Sanneh’s Struggles in the Belgian League


By Sulayman Bah

When a top European club part with eight million euros in the transfer window they, in return, expect an instant success sort of a player and not a work-in-progress type.

In the times of the modern game transfer price tags are exaggerated and footballers who command them, hyped beyond what they’re. The usual repercussion in such an instance is often the player being released after flopping up. A separation of that nature leaves the player’s confidence sap afterwards. In the case of Bubacarr Sanneh, his career does not look headed for that direction. Going by the swelling statistics he was building in the Danish Super League, it showed he at least appeared worth every of the penny spent in his acquisition by Anderlecht. It’s every player’s dream to cut it in a big league and the man dubbed Timber back at home in Serrekunda is no different. However, the current realties fronting him wasn’t his anticipation–struggling at Anderlecht, a club he has been so willing to join while he was still a player of Danish club Midtjyland.

A tough journey so far it has been for Sanneh

Belgian serial league winners Anderlecht’s willingness to fork out eight million euros was a statement of intent that he would be integral and not peripheral in every of the club’s push this season.

Anderlecht has given him that consistent playing minutes at the start – as any club would to a marquee signing – but the circumstances the Gambian found himself entangled in, did not aid his growth and, on the contrary, compounded what was supposed to be an easy glide into regular club football at his new team.

Moving to a bigger club represents an upward trajectory. In Sanneh’s case, the odds didn’t tick in his favour aside from the comfort of playing in a flat three formation at defence, a quality of which seems to have swayed his purchase in the first instance.

There is pace that he is required to adjust to as he comes from a league whose football is something of a nail-pace to what he discovered in Belgium.

Happier times, Sanneh got off to a good start before slowing up

€8m is an astronomical fee for a player coming into the Belgian league even by the standards of Anderlecht. Consequently, it’s no coincidence that football fans in Brussels expected to see if not Sergio Ramos, but a calibre of the Real Madrid defence maverick in new signing Bubacarr Sanneh.

He started out well opening his account in his first three games but have been punching, by the coach’s reckoning, below the belt in subsequent matches. This opened the pathway for derides towards him and the Belgian press assessment of the centre-back during the recent break have been at best damning. Some have gone to the conclusion of declaring him ‘worst signing’ of the short break.

These setbacks coalesced with pressure to deliver have only added to the Gambian’s headache.

Successful transition of a player at a new club is supported by consistency and familiarisation. Bubacarr seems not to have the latter with his club mates, considering he’d to jet back and forth to Banjul and Brussels to answer to national team duties with the Gambia.

The recent change of coaches and the arrival of Senegal international Kara Mbodji following end of his French Ligue1 loan, may well be the last straw and a further slump down the pecking order.

The 24-year-old has spent more time on the bench than he had in the pitch.

Sanneh is raring to go now as he waits for his chance 

‘I had never been to Belgium before and everything was new to me, and football was also different: a different competition and a higher level than Danish, but it’s a bit faster,’ he says.

‘In Denmark, you have three teams that are fighting for the title, but in Belgium everyone seems to be able to win, nothing is decided beforehand,’

‘You have people who do everything for you, as a player you just have to focus on your performance, the places in the team are expensive, but that’s just like a big European club You have people who do everything for you, as a player you just have to focus on your performance, the places in the team are expensive, but that’s just like a big European club

‘I just have to train harder, I keep following my dreams, I’m not the type that gives up,’ he said of recent to Midtjyland CF.

Interestingly, there is that in-built burning desire to prove doubters wrong, a thing he looks destined to do but must now wait to earn coach Fred Rutten’s complete trust.

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