Pa Dembo Touray seeks new club in Sweden
Former Gambia national football team skipper, Pa Dembo Touray is hoping to secure a new club in Sweden before the end of the summer transfer window on September 1.
The former Real de Banjul goalkeeper left premier league side Djurgarden IF after more than a decade with the Stockholm outfit to join South African club Engen Santos three years ago, but his contract with the second division outfit has since come to an end, though both parties are open to the idea of prolonging the association.
The net minder currently has an offer of a further one year on the table from Santos but he is looking for a new club in the top two divisions in Sweden as he seeks to reunite with his family in Scandinavia. He added that in the event he couldn’t secure a new club by the end of the transfer window, he wouldn’t mind continuing with the People’s Team.
He told Swedish publication FotbollDirekt: “I would prefer to return to Sweden. The window closes soon, so there is not much time left.” The Gambian said of a possible return, mainly because he has his children there.
“They [Santos] want me to stay for another year. So we will continue talking and we’ll see what happens. The season in South Africa is beginning on 23 August. I have a guy [an agent] who is helping me to look around among Swedish clubs. If there is something there, I will happily return, but if he finds no club for me, I am willing to play another year here.”
Pa Dembo is currently in South Africa but visited Stockholm earlier in the summer and despite the fact that former club Djurgarden have not shown any interest in resigning him, the Gambian still took time to pass by at the club.
“I was in Sweden for two weeks, it was damn good, real summer. Down here it’s winter now, so I would rather have been in Sweden (laughs). I was visiting the office at the Clock Tower and visited [Andersson] Bosse, Durgarden’s sporting director and Henry (Berggren, CEO). But there are so many new faces now. There was almost no one I recognised. It’s (Simon) Tibbling, Emil (Bergstrom) and Philip (Hellquist), then the rest have all moved on.”
Touray was unequivocal when asked on the prospect of playing at a level below the top two divisions in Sweden. “Yes, something in the Allsvenskan or Superettan, further down than that, I would not play. The window closes soon, so there is not much time left. I hope it can be solved soon so that I can return. Otherwise I will play for another year here. But it will be the last year in that case; I miss my kids so much,” he concluded.
Retirement from international duty
Touray, earlier this year explained his decision to quit international football with The Gambia. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Gambian Lifestyle online edition ‘Whats-on-Gambia,’ he opened up on the matter for the first time since quitting the Scorpions in 2011.
Pa Dembo has arguably been the country’s most successful goalkeeper with an international career that spanned over 15 years and gave his country so many memorable nights in front of packed crowds at Banjul’s Independence Stadium.
After coming out of a temporal retirement to star for the Scorpions in qualification for the 2012 AFCON qualifiers, the 34-year-old towering goalkeeper has never played for his country in over three years though he has hinted in the past that he was considering the issue of permanently calling time on his glittering international career to concentrate on club commitments.
Since an October 2011 African Cup of Nations 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso in Banjul (Pa Dembo failed to play in that game having suffered a knock), Touray one of the few Gambians to play in the UEFA Champions League has never again featured for the Scorpions having turned down several opportunities to return.
Many people believed the former Djurgaeden captain’s presence would’ve offered the experience and cool head that have been lacking at Scorpions camps of recent and his continuous absence has been described as a bitter blow for the team.
“Some people felt I should give chance to the young players. I was at a press conference and a journalist [name withheld] asked why I don’t want to let the youngsters take over. That question really pissed me off, because I was still active. I asked him, if he was following my games abroad [which he could not reply to]. But he still insisted that I should quit, and that was what exactly I did,” Pa Dembo who spent eleven years with Djurgarden said.