In our latest edition of “Who are ya” we speak to a fans favourite, Abdulai Baggie.
John Pritchard: We have some important games coming up, as a player do you do anything special to prepare? Any superstitions?
Abdulai Baggie: No not really. I try and do the right things every game I play in. So in a sense it is no different to any other game. It’s just important to prepare well.
JP: When in the changing rooms do you like to listen to upbeat music to try and get ready or do you like to be calm?
AB: I would say when we have to report for the game, it is nice to listen to music to get you up for the game. However, everyone is different.
JP: Definitely, everyone has their own ways to prepare! We have seen outside of you playing football, you also coach. Is that something you really enjoy?
AB: Yes definitely. I enjoy coaching the young kids, and I try and help them and give them advice on what it takes to become a professional footballer too. It has ups and downs but that’s football, that comes with it. The main thing I tell them is to smile and enjoy it because that really is what it’s all about.
JP: 100%. It can be a rocky road! You have played for England Youth teams however you committed to Sierra Leone, was the choice to represent Sierra Leone too hard to turn down?
AB: Yes it was hard too turn because it was my home town and the country where I was born. Since I was younger, it was always my dream to play for my country and I did that so I am very lucky to have done that. I had to be realistic with myself with England at an early age. I have not looked back or regretted making that choice.
JP: What a great achievement! That must have been a proud moment for you and your family! Are there any international players who you still keep in contact with? Either from your time with England or from Sierra Leone?
AB: Yes, I still speak to some of them. The likes of Kei Kamara who plays over in the MLS and also a few others that also play over in the USA. Two others in the English league and others in the Swedish top league.
JP: Is there a footballing memory you will always remember and cherish?
AB: Playing at Wembley age 17 when I was on loan at Rotherham Utd from Reading. We played Dagenham and Redbridge in the League 2 playoff final but lost 2-1. I came on with 20 minutes to go in front of 55,000 fans. That was an unbelievable feeling. The other one would have to be making my first international debut against Cape Verde in the World Cup Qualifiers.
JP: Just the last one now. How do you want to be remembered?
AB: I would want to be remembered as a role model and someone kids look up to.