“Legends by no means die. Legends are honoured,” is how Spanish membership Sevilla remembered Gambian soccer nice Alhaji Momodou Njie, who was higher generally known as ‘Biri Biri’, after his demise on Sunday.
Biri BIri handed away within the Senegalese capital Dakar, aged 72 and as but no reason for demise has been introduced.
He was the primary Gambian to play skilled soccer abroad when he signed for Danish membership B.1901 Nykobing FL in 1972.
The membership noticed him after they got here to Banjul for a coaching camp and in 1973 he left them to affix Spanish aspect Sevilla, the place he spent 5 seasons.
Such was his influence at Sevilla that each time he returned to the membership the followers would nonetheless be singing his title and welcomed him with open arms.
He additionally performed for a number of golf equipment again residence in The Gambia as nicely for former Sierra Leonean champions Mighty Blackpool.
Tributes from residence and overseas
Present Gambian president Adama Barrow was additionally eager to pay tribute to Biri Biri.
“I discovered with deep sorrow the passing away of Gambian soccer legend, Alhagie Momodou Njie alias Biri Biri,” he mentioned.
“I be part of his household, associates, and followers to mourn his demise. Although demise is inevitable, Biri’s life is value celebrating.
“He made a reputation for himself and as a patriot flew our nationwide flag excessive on the planet of soccer.
“Biri was a sort, beneficiant and pleasant one that supported and stood by his household and associates. Might his light soul relaxation in Jannahtul Firdausi.”
Newly-crowned Spanish champions Actual Madrid additionally paid tribute to Biri Biri.
“Actual Madrid CF, its president and its Board of Administrators deeply remorse the demise of Sevilla FC legend Alhaji Momodo Njle ‘Biri-Biri’,” the membership posted.
“Actual Madrid needs to specific its condolences to his household and family members, his membership and all followers of Sevilla FC.”
A pioneer in Denmark
His first membership in Europe Danish membership B.1901 Nykobing additionally identified that “it isn’t solely in Spain that Biri Biri wrote historical past. He did the identical in Denmark in 1972.
“Right here, Biri Biri turned the primary African to play top-level soccer in Denmark when he was dropped at B1901. Honor be to his reminiscence.”
The membership that Biri Biri left to maneuver to Denmark was Wallidan FC, whom he joined once more later in his profession remembered their former participant.
“A legend has fallen asleep. It is with deep unhappiness we announce the passing on of a Membership Legend Alh. Momodou Njie Biri Biri in the present day,”
“We’re sending our deepest condolences to his ex-team mates, household and the whole nation. We are going to absolutely miss you Biri, we’ll proceed to wish for you.
“Might your humble Soul Relaxation in Peace Legend.”
The president of The Gambia Soccer Federation, Lamin Kabba Bajo, added that Biri Biri won’t be forgotten.
“THE ALL TIME LEGEND HAS FALLEN,” Bajo wrote
“As we mourn and have fun you, uncle, I want to guarantee you that we are going to not relent in our efforts in guaranteeing that your legacy lives on so long as we’re the place.”
There have been additionally phrases of remembrance from elsewhere across the continent.
“My sympathies and condolences to the household of the African legend from Gambia-Alhagie Momodu Njie “Biri Biri”Might his soul relaxation in excellent peace,”mentioned Anthony Baffoe the deputy secretary basic of the Confederation of African Soccer.
Former Cameroon and Sevilla captain Stephane Mbia mentioned: “A member of the family left us. The mystic Biri Biri! #RIP Legend.”
An extended worldwide profession
Biri Biri loved a prolonged worldwide profession with The Gambia making his debut aged simply 16 in 1963.
A type of former worldwide team-mates Bai Malleh Wada was grateful for the assistance he obtained from Biri Biri.
“Biri has impressed a era of Gambian footballers. All of us wished to be like him whereas rising up,” he defined.
“Biri gave us hope and made all of us consider in ourselves. He was an incredible man and he had an incredible persona and was charismatic.”
“He has sacrificed lots for this nation. He was at all times able to die for his nation.
“After I joined him within the nationwide staff, he made it residence for me and all of the younger gamers on the time. This nation won’t ever have one other Biri.”
One other ex-international who was stuffed with reward for the late Biri Biris is Sheikh Ndure.
“He impressed me in some ways. His abilities, strikes with the ball and starvation for fulfillment was second to none,” he mentioned.
“Simply Biri shifting and speaking meant lots to us at the moment.
“He was a pacesetter and so all the way down to earth. His legacy is at all times going to remain ceaselessly for what he has performed for soccer.”
In 2005 BBC Sport spoke to a different of his ex-international team-mates, Alhaji Babou Sowe, who had the very highest reward for Biri Biri.
“I class Biri Biri even above Maradona as a result of he was an incredible goalscorer, dribbler and will play with each toes,” Sowe advised BBC Sport.
“Biri Biri is one of the best participant Africa has ever produced.”
One individual that has adopted in Biri Biri’s footsteps is his 26-year-old son Yusupha Njie who performs within the Portuguese top-flight for Boavista and can be a Gambia worldwide.
“I’ve been hit so arduous that I do not actually know what to say,” he posted on Instagram.
“You are my superhero and my greatest life blessing. I am completely happy and opportune to be your son.”
“I like you dad and your reminiscences at all times maintain me shifting. I’ll miss you.”