Vancouver Whitecaps added their second designated player this morning and in the process, Mustapha Alasan Jarju made history.
Gambian Jarju’s signing has made him the first African designated player in the history of MLS. A momentous occasion for both the Caps and the League.
Known by his nickname Toubabo, Jarju joins Vancouver from Belgian First Division side RAEC Mons, where the Gambian’s 21 League goals were instrumental in securing the Club’s return to the Jupiler League.
Newly promoted Mons were keen to maintain Jarju’s services but some issues and the lure of Canada, proved too great and with his contract in Belgium expiring at the end of June, Vancouver will certainly welcome Toubabo with open arms.
Toubabo will wear the number 36 shirt and will become the Whitecaps fourth African player in the current squad, joining Ghanaian Gershon Koffie, Tanzanian Nizar Khalfan and Cameroon’s Alex Morfaw.
He will not be alone in representing Gambia in the League either, joining five other of his countrymen in MLS: Sanna Nyassi (Colorado Rapids); Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally (New England Revolution); Mamadou “Futty” Danso (Portland Timbers); Omar Jasseh (San Jose Earthquakes).
In fact, Jarju could have become Vancouver’s second Gambian had they not inexplicably traded Sanna Nyassi to Colorado after acquiring him as their first pick in the 2010 MLS expansion draft.
Jarju is a proven goalscorer and can play both as a striker and an attacking midfielder and although unknown to most over here, he will provide a perfect partner for Eric Hassli and Camilo.
Speaking at this morning’s press conference, Mustapha, who arrived in Vancouver on Saturday, was:
“Pleased to be here” and “Excited to see what’s going to happen”.
Whether he will find the gap between the Belgian Second Division and Major League Soccer easy to breach, we will all wait and watch with eager anticipation.
One thing that is certain though, is that Jarju will not be the only addition to the Whitecaps squad in this transfer window.