The Early Years (1983-1999)

I started playing football at five years of age and was inspired by my brother Lamine, who was a really good player in Dakar, where I was brought up. I also enjoyed watching the Senegal national team on TV, who were really good at the time, and my love for the game just grew from there. From playing out in the streets, I then progressed to play in midfield for a team called Ndeffann Saltigue in 1994 - which was the equivalent of playing in the Conference in England - before joining the junior ranks of leading Senegalese club Jarraff Dakar a year later.

By 1996 I had progressed to the Jarraff A-team and was also called up to the junior national side. However, the league in my homeland is not professional, so I always had a dream of playing in Europe and it would soon come true.
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