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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Bangoura looks to football future
By Tope Agboola
BBC Sport

Alhassan Bangoura
Bangoura hopes to play top flight football with Watford

Life has never been the same for Alhassan Bangoura since he left Sierra Leone three years ago.

The softly-spoken 18-year-old is enjoying life in England where he plays for Watford in the Championship.

After growing up in the backstreets of Freetown, Bangoura left the west African country following the death of his father.

As Bangoura Snr was a member of the Poro Secret Society, custom demanded that his son take over his place upon his death.

But Bangoura Jnr had other ideas: "I didn't like it at all so I fled to Guinea," Bangoura told BBC Sport.

But crossing the border into Guinea was only the beginning of the young Bangoura's problems, a classic case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

"When I got to Guinea I met a frenchman who pretended to be a friend but turned out to be the devil incarnate," Bangoura said.

"He took me to France but wanted to get me into prostitution and the homosexual business but I refused."

"From France he brought me to the UK and again wanted me to do the same thing so I escaped and approached the Home Office to seek asylum."

And it was in England that his fortunes changed after he was discovered playing football in a public park and introduced to the Watford Academy.

"Living was tough in those early years and the only way for me to keep fit was to play at the park." Bangura said.

And according to Watford's first team coach David Hockaday the young Sierra Leonean was a rare find.

"Beginning of last season a scout of our club said to me he'd seen a young player in the park with all the right qualities to play in this league."

"We asked him to come in because we believe there are some unearthed diamonds out there but this doesn't happen very often," Hockaday added.

Blessed with lightning pace, excellent ball-shielding and dribbling skills as well as a highly developed sense of teamwork and the all-important ruthlessness in the middle, Bangoura has begun to look every inch the complete midfielder.

"He is a coach's dream because he takes to things," Hockaday enthused.

The icing on the cake was his timely individual strike that earned Watford a point in their 2-2 home draw with Derby recently.

Understandably, Bangoura was ecstatic following this goal, which was his first in the Championship.

But the young player who recently signed a three year professional contract says he wants more.

"My dream now is to help Watford gain promotion to the English Premiership."

But for now, there's no talk of representing his homeland.

"I don't know if I want to go back to Sierra Leone," Bangoura told BBC Sport.

It appears the initial reason he left the country makes him wary of ever returning there, even if it was in a Leone Stars shirt.


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