- Wednesday, 01 February 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
South African ABSA Premiership side Santos Football Club has decided to acquire the services of Gambian international goalkeeper and former skipper of Swedish Allsvenskan club Djurgården IF, Pa Dembo Touray, who arrived in the Mother City early yesterday morning, Gambia Sports Online can reliably reveal.
With speculation suggesting moves to either the Major League Soccer in the USA or South Africa, the former invaluable Djurgården goalkeeper has put pen to paper for Santos. Being voted the best goalkeeper in the Swedish Allsvenskan for the 2010/2011 season, there is no doubt that he will prove a valuable addition to the Santos family.
Pa Dembo offers experience and leadership, having played in the Swedish top flight since the tender age of 20 (now 31). The Gambia international will bring a presence like no other keeper in the South African league. Towering at 1.98cm (6 ft 6 in) and having an extensive wingspan, Touray is an aerial juggernaut that should be near impossible to beat in the air.
Pa Dembo has indicated his glee with joining The People’s Team and feels he has been part of the family ever since training with the team late November last year .
Pa Dembo Touray began his footballing career with Real de Banjul F.C. in Gambia. In 2000 he moved to Stockholm in Sweden to play for Djurgården IF in the highest domestic league, Allsvenskan. Pa Dembo spent two respective loan spells with Assyriska FF and Vålerenga IF before returning to Djurgården following the sale of Swedish international goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
After Isaksson’s departure, Pa Dembo was handed an extended run in the team, and since maintained his position as first-choice goalkeeper at the club. He was also rewarded with the club captaincy after several seasons of consistency and following the 2011 season was selected as the top goalkeeper in the Allsvenskan. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, after a decade at Djurgården IF, Pa Dembo left the club having appeared in 195 league matches for the club.
In an interview on Monday, Pa Dembo said that he is sad to leave Sweden and that he has mixed emotions about leaving. He is quoted as saying, “It is with mixed emotions that I am going. It feels good, but I will also miss my family here and my friends.”
Pa Dembo added that he didn’t want to leave the Swedish club stating that his decision of leaving the club was all due to the decision of the coach, Magnus Pehrsson. He said, “I didn’t want to leave the club but in the end, it was Magnus Pehrsson who decided that I would not be there. He decided to buy a new goalkeeper in order to get rid off me but I wanted to stay,” he said.
About Santos FC
Santos Football Club or simply Santos, also known under their sponsored title as Engen Santos, is a professional South African football club based in Lansdowne, Cape Town that plays in the South African Premier Soccer League.
The club was established in Heideveld on the Cape Flats in 1982 and was originally known as Lightbodys Santos FC. During apartheid it was renowned for the insistence on non-racial inclusivity – hence the nickname The People’s Team.
They played in the Federation Professional League (FPL), the only truly non-racial football body in the country from 1982 to 1990. They won the championship in 1983/4/6/7/8/90 before joining the National Soccer League.
The NSL became the PSL in 1996 and Santos tasted their first success in the new format of the league in 2001–02 when they surprisingly won the title under the mentorship of Gordon Igesund. This side featured players like Edries Burton, Andre Arendse, Musa Otieno and the club’s all-time top goal scorer Jean-Marc Ithier.
They were also crowned Bob Save Super Bowl winners in 2001 and BP Top 8 winners in 2002. The team is currently ranked 14 in the 16-team-table with 12 points from 15 games.