- Tuesday, 27 March 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Uncapped Gambia striker Saihou “CH” Jagne has decided to move to Finland to join Finnish Veikkausliiga [top tier] side IFK Mariehamn on a one-year contract, Gambia Sports Online can exclusively report.
The 25-year-old attacker joined the Finnish side on Saturday after his contract with Swedish Superettan [second tier] side IF Brommapojkarna elapsed at the end of the season.
Since the end of his deal with the Stockholm based outfit, Jagne has been on trials with several clubs in Sweden, most notably Degerfors IF who were interested in offering him a contract but terms weren’t agreed with the club with the player saying that he wants to leave Sweden to ply his trade somewhere else.
Jagne will now be plying his trade in Finland with Mariehamn. He is now the second Gambian currently playing for a Finnish top flight club after Gambia international Demba Savage, who plays for HJK Helsinki.
Mariehamn’s clubs director Peter Mattsson, said that the club securing the signature of Jagne will help bolster the club’s attacking options and helped them fight for the championship. “CH is an explosive player and fascinating to watch. It would have been dangerous to match the four strikers too hard over 33 rounds and risking injury but could be supplemented as we now have the in form Jagne,” Mattsson said.
“So it feels enough like a real jackpot that we got this opportunity. And now we have more options in terms of attacking, the game makes it more likely to jump-start the scoring as little been a challenge during the preseason and hopefully, we can win the Veikkausliiga this season,” Mattsson added.
Saihou Jagne whose nickname, CH, is an approximate Swedish pronunciation spelling of his given name, started his footballing career in the lower leagues of Swedish football before moving to Valsta Syrianska IK in 2006 and after loaned the following year to FC Väsby United.
In 2008, he moved to AIK and just a few weeks after the Swedish club signed him, Turkish club Gaziantepspor showed their interest in the young striker, making a bid up to €200,000.
He marked his debut for AIK on 30 March 2008 in the club’s first game of the season as a substitute at the Råsunda stadium against Kalmar FF, a game that ended 0-0. Saihou didn’t have a goal to his name in the first months of his career at the club but when the team faced Kalmar FF for the second time in the season on 4 August 2008, he scored both goals for AIK in a game that ended 3-2 to Kalmar FF at Fredriksskans.
On 24 September that same season, he was brought in as a second half substitute in the derby against arch-rivals Djurgården IF and he scored the equaliser in stoppage time.
He had a short loan spell with GIF Sundsvall before moving to IF Brommapojkarna in 2011 on a one-year-contract. He won the Swedish Allsvenskan in 2009 with AIK as well as the Swedish Svenska Cupen and Supercupen in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
About IFK Mariehamn
IFK Mariehamn is a Finnish football club, based in Mariehamn, capital of the Åland Islands. It currently plays in the Finnish Premier Division (Veikkausliiga). The club’s manager is Pekka Lyyski and they play their home matches at the 4000 capacity Wiklöf Holding Arena.
While IFK Mariehamn was formed in 1919, the sports club did not have a football section until the mid-1930s. Initially the team participated primarily in local tournaments in Åland, only sporadically playing other Finnish or Swedish teams.
The team has participated in the Finnish football leagues since 1945. Until the 1970s, IFK Mariehamn played primarily in the Finnish football divisions 3 and 4. The club reached a peak in 1975 and 1976, when the club first advanced to division 2 and then reached division 1 (Ykkönen) the following year.
After two seasons in division 1, IFK Mariehamn was relegated to division 2, where remained until in the 2000s, except for a few seasons in division 3 during the early 1990s. In 2003, IFK Mariehamn returned to division 1. After only one season in division 1, the club advanced, for the first time in its history to the premier division of Finnish football, the Veikkausliiga, for the 2005 season.
In its first season in the Veikkausliiga, IFK Mariehamn finished 12th position in the 14-team-table. In 2006, the club finished in 5th place and the year after 6th after an impressive run of unbeaten matches during the autumn of 2007. In addition to playing in the Veikkausliiga, IFK Mariehamn participates in local Åland tournaments, having won the Åland cup 40 times and the Åland football championships 42 times.
In recent years, the club has been the most dominant football team on Åland, having won its 11th and 15th straight titles in these two events in 2007 and 2008 respectively. In 2009, IFK Mariehamn started its first season as a fully professional football club.