Sahr Senesie, the soccer warrior from Sierra Leone

15 October 2009 at 05:33 | 2860 views

By Thomas Meinders, PV Germany Correspondent.

It’s not a common story. This story of football-striker Sahr Senesie. Born in Sierra Leone, growing up in Germany, he made his debut in the Bundesliga in 2003, scored his first goal in the European Cup shortly after, was part of the German U-20-squad in the World Cup in 2005, didn’t manage to continue this comet-like journey and plays currently in German fourth division.

But that is not the end of the story and anyway it is a summary. 24 years ago Senesie was born in Koidu, the capital of the Kono District in Sierra Leone. He moved to Germany when he was little and grew up in Berlin.

Many German clubs, including Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 were interested in the talented youngster, but Senesie finally decided to moved to Borussia Dortmund when he was 15.

After playing very successfully at junior level, coach Matthias Sammer appointed Senesie for the first team squad in 2003 - unexpected for almost everyone. But the 1,77-metres tall striker, wasn’t satisfied with being on the roster, he wanted to play.

On September 27th of the same year his chance came. At Dortmund’s home match against Freiburg, Senesie came as a substitute 25 minutes before the end. He was part of the Bundesliga sooner than even he himself expected.

The first countable moment followed shortly after. In November Dortmund played in the UEFA-Cup - now called Europa League - against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard from France. The score was 0:2, when Senesie replaced defender André Bergdolmo. Seven minutes later he scored his first goal.

The match ended 2:2 - Senesie(photo) had definitely found his place in the team. Eleven matchs in his first year at senior level were followed by ten the next season. Entirely without any further scoring. Nonetheless he was called up to the German U-20-World-Cup-squad in 2005 and was also invited to the U-21-national-team, where he scored one goal in four matches.

Though having German and Sierra Leonean passports he decided early to play for Germany. The following summer, he went on loan to at that time third-league-club 1899 Hoffenheim, where he managed to score four goals in his first five appearances, before several injuries frustrated him.

Back at Dortmund he played mostly for their reserve team, which didn’t satisfy him at all. After the 2007/2008 season he left Dortmund and went on trials to England (Nottingham Forest) and the United States (Red Bull New York), but again injuries were in his way.

After recovering , Senesie decided to take an extremely unusual step for a young and talented football player. He accepted a call from Germany’s former international, Mario Basler, who is coach of well-known club Eintracht Trier. The catch of it is that Trier plays only in the fourth tier of the German football pyramid.

"If it wasn’t for Basler, I wouldn’t have thought about it", admits Senesie. In Trier he plays side by side with the Namibian international Wilko Risser. After a satisfying first season, he extended his contract without losing track of his actual aspiration: a comeback in the Bundesliga. And he is on a good way to at least play higher next season. Currently he ranks second in the league’s top-scorer ranking.

In the German cup, he managed - after scoring one goal in the first round success over Bundesliga-team Hannover 96 - to become man of the match in the second round, where he scored three goals in the 4:2-victory against Arminia Bielefeld. It seems to be just a matter of time for Senesie to play at higher levels again.