From National Partition in Portugal to the Small Village of Lot: The Amazing Story of Malik Al-Hajj

From National Partition in Portugal to the Small Village of Lot: The Amazing Story of Malik Al-Hajj

From Senegal to France… passing through Portugal, Malik El Hadj Sambo has enjoyed a great rise thanks to football. Now playing North Lot.

More than just a career, Malik El Hadj Sambo dreamed of reaching the pinnacle of professional football. He passed through multiple clubs, in the National Division as well as in the Third Division, where he was able to be guided by lucky stars, until he arrived at Pierre-sur-Cerre.

He made his debut as a defender at ES Lusitana, where he was fortunate to have Luis Norton de Matos as his agent, who coached LUSC's reserve team in 2021. The core of his life consisted of this practice in abundance, since he devoted his studies to it in one of the sports centers, in His country of origin, Senegal, until the age of 18 years.

The era in which everything changed for the better. Keen to recruit stronger players to complete his squad, the president of a national-level Portuguese club, Oeiras, came to meet the Lusitana star coach to do some scouting. Defender, striker and goalkeeper. Below are the positions that were scheduled for promotion. Then everything happened very quickly. A month after the testing phase, the president told him the news: “Pack your bags, you are going to Portugal.” “It was the dream of an entire club to go and play football in Europe,” he said nostalgically.

“Out of 500 players who auditioned, only three were selected. 'I had this opportunity,' and I took this opportunity!” In order to live the Portuguese dream, Malik abandoned his studies and said goodbye to his family, to Oeiras, where they were thousands of kilometers apart.

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Before he could officially join the team, he and the other selected players had to go through Sports Week, more commonly known as Trial Week. Malik says the integration was complicated by the language barrier, but he struggled a little more every day to showcase his defensive qualities on the pitch. To no avail: “One day I broke my leg on the field, they told me it was no longer possible to keep me in selection.” In a split second, the hope of becoming a professional football player disappeared.

As he was the club's responsibility, they had no choice but to treat his injury. After being found guilty of inaction, he took the opportunity to apply for a Portuguese visa and found a job. But staying on the sidelines was not in his interest, he wanted more. Since his injury was not minor, it took two years for him to fully recover, and for him to decide to resume training alongside work. Milfontes was its new host club, playing in the Third Division from 2017 to 2021, having successfully passed the trials. “He helped me a lot, he offered me an apartment, a job, completed my citizenship application… I was even invited to several meals with his family…” explains Antonio, the boss of Melfontes.

After 2021, Malik wanted a change of scenery. He moved to Odiaxere, a club located in the Algarve region in southern Portugal, where he played some matches in the second division. “Then I came to France to work, and it was a company specializing in oven equipment based in Portugal that sent me,” he explains.

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Affected by the events, he continued his journey to Biars-sur-Cère, where he continued to work for the Football Club du Haut Quercy (FCHQ), as a hobby: “prioritizing work, and not having to be.” “I will return to Portugal if I get injured, otherwise I will not be able to fulfill my position as a loan agent in France,” Malik points out. If he no longer has the ability to play at national level, FCHQ director Matteo Capel believes he “still has the talent to excel in the first division.” .

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About the Author: Lucinda Lima

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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