Abdulai Baggie speaks to John Pritchard from theterras.com about his football firsts.
John Pritchard: Can you tell us about your first memory of football?
Abdulai Baggie: My first memory of football was when I was 6, kicking a ball round with people 3-4 years older than me back in my hometown Sierra Leone where I was born, running past one of the older boys and I got clipped whiles running so I turned around and kicked out! Where I grew up in Freetown in Sierra Leone, it was not just an ordinary place like England where you play football on grass or nice pavements to have a kick around, pot holes, stones, kids wearing kits that were different shirts to other teams socks, and shorts. Whatever you had you’d put on to play football, goals that were made with stones, the football was flat! Football was football back home it didn’t matter what we used!
JP: That’s so nice to hear, great to see how well you are doing now and what a great career you have had! Talking about football shirts, can you remember your first shirt you had?
AB: Thanks! I’m really enjoying my time at the club. I can remember my mum buying me a Man United Shirt for my Birthday! She was a Man United supporter and I felt I had to be as well for a few years but that stopped!
JP: Hope that’s not the case anymore! Can you tell us about your first position you played?
AB: My first position I played was at Grass roots level when I came to England age 7, I played upfront and scored a lot of goals which then gave me the chance to go into the Southampton Academy at under 9s for a couple of years before trying out other positions.
JP: Going on from moving to England and being born in Sierra Leone, can you tell us how your first call up happened?
AB: I was at Tranmere Rovers at the time, playing every week in my first year at the club, after training I got pulled into the managers office who was Ronnie Moore at the time thinking I was going to get dropped or something has happened so I was panicking. I was young at the time, 21 maybe, automatically when you get pulled by the gaffer you think of the worse! Then he said to me I have just had a email from SLFA to play in the World Cup Qualification for them. My hometown came calling I was over the moon and in shock. When I was 17 coming through the youth systems I turned down the chance to play for them and that was one regret I had thinking I would not have the opportunity again but luckily enough I did. I was lucky to represent England at Under 16s and 17s level thinking I could hopefully go on further but I had to be realistic with myself but also what I thought would make my family proud and also achieve what all other Sierra Leone boys dream about.
JP: I bet! However that’s fantastic, I’m sure you made your family proud! Last one mate, do you remember your first celebration?
AB: I’m not gonna lie but I don’t actually.. it was that long ago but I am bit boring with celebrations, it simple unless it is a last minute winner! In my career so far the top has come off!
JP: Well we have seen that this season, it was some great play up to the goal and a big 3 points earned!