3 major English clubs eye Gambia’s Kekuta Manneh
Monday, October 21, 2013
Three of England’s most decorated premier league clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal will go head to head in the battle to sign Gambia’s teenage sensation Kekuta Manneh Observer Sports can report.
The 18-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps super kid has being on the radar of the English giants for some time and the former Steve Biko prodigy delivered another nudge to the three teams currently leading the chase in the EPL after becoming the youngest player to score an MLS hat-trick.
Manneh netted a classy treble for the Whitecaps in their 4-1 win over Seattle Sounders last week and English Newspaper the Daily Star reported on Thursday that Manneh who spent a week with Chelsea back in 2010 -and Arsenal scouts were sent out to the States to watch him in 2011- has courted serious interest from the London duo and there Liverpool based rival. The Reds also gave Manneh the opportunity to train on Merseyside and they were linked with a switch for him over the summer.
Speaking to the Canadian media last week, Manneh’s Vancouver teammate Nigel Reo-Coker who played for EPL sides Westham United and Aston Villa says the Gambian superkid has plenty in his locker.
Reo-Coker told the Vancouver Sun: "He took his goals well and he showed great composure at such a young age ... but he's still got a lot to learn. He still has his moments when you see his age comes through."
Commenting on the prospect of playing in the most famous domestic league competition in the world, Manneh admits the opportunity of moving to England is "exciting". "That would be exciting. Playing in the Premier League is one of my dreams. If that interest comes, it would be exciting."
About Kekuta Manneh courtesy of Wikipedia
Manneh began his career at the Gilcock Academy in the Gambia before moving to Steve Biko FC in the domestic Gambian first division league. After leaving Africa in 2010, Manneh lead 2nd division Georgia Rush to the state cup quarterfinals and played for Texas Rush before signing with Lonestar Soccer Club, another youth club from Texas, for the 2011 season. Both clubs compete as part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. In 2010, Manneh scored 35 goals in 23 matches for the Rush. Because of his performance with the Rush, Manneh was named to the 2010 Disney’s Soccer Showcase All-Star Team and was given a week-long training stint with the Chelsea F.C. academy.
For Lonestar SC, Manneh scored 21 goals in 16 matches. In October 2011, Manneh was observed by a scout from Arsenal in a match against the FC Dallas Development Academy. Following his successful season with Lonestar SC, Manneh signed for the Austin Aztex of the Premier Development League and scored 10 goals in 12 regular season matches, including a 4-goal performance against the Texas Dutch Lions on matchday 5.
Before coming to the United States in 2010, Manneh played for Steve Biko Football Club of the GFA League First Division, the highest level of football in the Gambia. Manneh helped the club finish second in the league in 2009 by scoring 17 goals in 12 matches. Despite successful trials with top clubs in the Gambia, Manneh decided to move to the United States and join the Texas-based academies. In 2012, it was reported that Manneh was on trial with the reigning Major League Soccer champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy but was ultimately not signed to a contract.
Manneh had also trained with the Colorado Rapids and clubs in England and Germany. In January 2013, Manneh signed a Generation Adidas contract with Major League Soccer in order to take part in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. A week later, Manneh was selected fourth overall by Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Vancouver made a trade with Toronto FC involving swapping picks and allocation money to get an earlier selection in order to draft Manneh.
Manneh scored two goals for the Whitecaps in a 3-2 preseason victory over the Charleston Battery in the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup. On 3 March 2013 Manneh made his league debut for the Whitecaps, starting the match and playing 45 minutes of a 1-0 opening-day victory over Toronto FC.
Manneh scored his first professional goal on 27 April 2013, in a 2–2 draw with FC Dallas. After coming on as a 54th-minute substitute, he scored a 72nd-minute goal. Three minutes later, Manneh made a surging run past three defenders down the flank to set up Camilo's equalizer in the 75th minute. Manneh's goal and assist earned him man of the match honours. Manneh scored his first professional, and the Whitecaps' first MLS, hat-trick on 9 October 2013, in a 4–1 win over Seattle Sounders FC. At 18 years and 283 days, Manneh became the youngest player to have scored an MLS hat trick.
Because of Manneh's performances with Steve Biko FC, he was called up for the Gambia's U-20 national squad for the 2011 African Youth Championship in South Africa.
Author: Baboucarr Camara