By: Omar Jatta
Former Gambia international footballer and Wallidan FC star Jatto Ceesay paid an emotional tribute to the late Alhagi Ousman Basi Conateh, known to many as OB or Fisco, who sadly passed away on Saturday 4th April and was laid to rest on Sunday the 5th, at the Old Jawing cemetery.
In an audio recording posted to the esohna sports YouTube channel, which was sent by the former Gambian international striker Jatto Ceesay to the Wallidan FC WhatsApp group forum, the former Willem II winger paid a very emotional tribute to the founding father of his former club Wallidan, Alhagi OB Conateh, whom he mostly referred to as dad, as he went to elaborate on the close bond he had shared with the former GFA President. Saying:
“I know the man like my dad if not more.
“My heart is really heavy right now and thus talking is a bit difficult for me at the moment,” he added, before going further to highlight the contributions of Mr Conateh including his kindness to those he had come into contact with.
“Before you know one’s contributions to life, he leaves this world, and today in the entire Gambia, if you don’t know this old man, if you raise your arms you will touch somebody who had passed through him or knew him, that’s the testimony of his work to humanity.
“He took everybody under his wings like his own children without any discrimination. He had no preference of one individual over the other, not even his own children.
“To him everyone was equal and one reason why he succeeded in life was because everyone was equal under his eyes no matter who you are, where you are from or whether you are a thief or a criminal, he will give you your due. Even if you come to him with a concocted story, he will never humiliate you, and will provide for you your needs and you’ll not even notice on his face.
The 46 year-old ex Gambian star went on to call on his colleagues who have passed through Wallidan Football Club to come together and pick up OB’s legacy, which he described as the “love of the oldman’s life” Wallidan FC.
“Those of us who went through Wallidan should come together and play our part in moving the club forward,” he said.
“Which i believe will appease the old man in his grave. We owe that to the club, because Wallidan made us who we are today.
“When i was at Wallidan was the best period of my career, even better than my time as a professional, because this was a time i shared with my closet friends, every day was like Tobaski, we were always together, merrying and drinking Attaya and we had fun. We were contempt with what we had as Wallidan players and we were not envious of anyone because being at Wallidan was a pride and it was a honour.
“We came and found Wallidan FC here, and we went through there, but i can say even in sixty years time or so, we will still be able to beat our chest anywhere in the world, even in Europe to say we were a Wallidan FC player, and that all happened because of this old man, OB Conateh.
“Whoever played for Wallidan, even if it was 25 years ago, lift your hands up and say i played for Wallidan, no matter where you are.
“Wallidan is the pride of Gambian football and the name alone has given us that bragging right, it don’t matter which league the club plays, we can always be proud to say we played for Wallidan, and all this is because OB created that and paved the way for us.
“Wearing the Wallidan shirt was a pride and thus we were ashamed to loose games. When we were at Wallidan we missed nothing, the old man provided everything for us and for that alone losing games was off the mark as our pride will not let us face him after losing because of all what he had done for us.
“I have not seen any man who can carry the burden this man carried, and no matter how heavy the burden, he never for once complained. Am sure you guys listening from the Wallidan family knows what am talking about. Am not saying this to narrate to you what went on, but just a recollection of the journey we shared.
“We journeyed through many bumpy paths with the old man, and he was always there no matter the circumstances, whether tough or not, he was always there with us and thus we cannot pay him back for all he had done.
“Whatever we have achieved today in this world, whatever that may be, i can say it was OB who paved our way to success.
“Nonetheless, God has created some individuals to serve a mission and i believe this man was here for a mission and he has not failed that mission.
“The man has worked really hard for this legacy and we must carry it on.
“As we all know the old man’s life was all about Wallidan, probably we should’ve come up with this idea a bit earlier when he was alive, but its never too late. Let’s unite as one family and carry on with the man’s legacy, he brought everyone together under his wings and this is the best we can do.
“Let’s polish his legacy and move it forward. This may be difficult for one person, but if we come together we can. We are not asking anyone what you can contribute but just do whatever you can do so we can move Wallidan forward for posterity.
The highly emotional Jatto, who could be heard at one point crying in the audio, asked his colleagues to continue praying for the old man as he called him in the audio, and to emulate his footsteps, whatever little attribute of his that may be and incorporate those attributes into their own affairs.
He further urged them to pray for the family OB has left behind.
“Lets pray for him and his family, who have been very accommodative to us, added Jatto.
“Wherever we meet them, they see us a one of them. Starting with the mother to the last person in the Conateh household.
“His family was beyond his own and encompasses beyond Wallidan family, and includes many sects from politicians to businessmen and so fort. His family is extensive.
“May Allah grant him the Highest abode in Jannah,” Ceesay concluded.
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Culled from www.gambiasportswire.com