Bakery Jatta’s rise to stardom as a professional player for Hamburg is a tale of taking risks and exploring the unknown. Jatta came to Germany in 2015 as an unaccompanied minor and was registered in a football academy in Bremen.
Later, he went on trials to Hamburg, and as luck would have it, he passed. When he came of age, Jatta became the first Gambian to play in the Bundesliga. His story is facing scrutiny after Sport Bild unearthed discrepancies.
The discrepancies, at the core of allegations, bothers on a false identity and abusing the immigration system to suit his interests. Any close observer of football migrants from Africa and South America in the Bundesliga will find nothing new about the allegations.
Anthony Yeboah, who also played for Hamburg in the Bundesliga, was also alleged to be older than his ‘real’ age. It was a subject of many articles back in the day.
With Jatta, until the authorities prove the allegations, I still give him the benefit of doubt. Because they could be unfounded. Here is why:
1. Jatta does not have refugee status, and neither did he seek asylum on arrival in Germany. Therefore, the allegation that he declared a false age as a minor to ward off deportation is baseless.
2. He claimed not to have played organised football in Africa, but Sport Bild’s report is to the contrary. It is a case of he said; she said.
3. There is no proof to justify the huge media attention because it is just anecdotal evidence.
4. He has legal documents from the Gambia and authentic working permit. It makes me wonder why we should take the allegations seriously.
5. His only crime was illegal migration. As long as his identity has been checked before legal documents were issued, then there should be no cause for alarm.