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Gambian Ibou Sawaneh Returns to Belgium

February 3, 2014

Baboucarr Camara

Gambian striker Ibou Sawaneh has returned to parent club OH Leuven after rescinding his contract with Qatari premier league side Muaither SC Observer Sports can confirm. The former KV Kortrijk, SK Beveren and Lech Poznan forward initially joined the United Arab Emirates side in August last year on a one-year loan but after ten games into the deal where he scored two goals, the Gambian-born German has returned to Belgium . The deal is still subject to an international clearance from the Qatari Football Association . Sawaneh was the top scorer for Leuven in the 2013/13 season with 19 goals but he endured a difficult preseason having been continually linked with a move away from the Den Dreefto Stadion. Sawaneh's career in Belgium After spending the 2011/12 season on loan at RAEC Mons, Ibou joined Leaven from Kortrijk on a permanent basis ahead of last season and he wasted little time in winning the hearts of the club's fans by becoming one of their top performers. He scored 19 league goals as Leuven narrowly missed out on a place in European competition. But his relationship with the Belgians turned sour when he tried to engineer a move away from the Den Dreef, which culminated in his drop in form making his once untouchable position in the starting lineup untenable. German giants Bayer Leverkusen, Reading and St. Etienne were among the five clubs linked with the signature of the Gambian forward during the summer. Dutch club FC Utrecht and Tunisian top-flight team Club Africain were also interested in the former Mechelen striker. Sawaneh earlier on in the summer was linked with a move to Leverkusen as a potential replacement for German international Andre Schurrle who joined English giants Chelsea in June. But Sami Hyppia's side cooled their interest in the Gambian and a deal never materialized. "I need a new sporting challenge. It must be primarily a sporting challenge; money is not the most important. Otherwise I [would] have accepted the offer from Tunisia ," Sawaneh said after rejecting the offer from Club Africain in August. But despite his desperation for a new sporting challenge, Sawaneh insists he did not want to risk the wrath of then Leuven coach Ronny Van Geneugden by handing in a transfer request. "I am ambitious and it is time to put a step forward. I'm more matured now. I have been playing in Belgium for six seasons and I know the competition through and through." Speaking on the protracted link with the English side, Sawaneh commented: "Playing in England with Reading also seems to be a challenge [but] we'll see. When I leave, I want Leuven [to] benefit. So I'm waiting for a good offer. If that does not come, I will respect my contract without complaining. But I hope for a quick solution." It was widely believed that the Belgian club's valuation of the Gambian striker has been the major stumbling block in his failure to sign for a top European club. Sawaneh is valued at E1,700,000 [Euros] which swayed away a lot of suitors and as a result of his failed move, the Serekunda-born striker became unsettled and lost his position in the team as a result. But after the arrival of Belgian Herman Vermeulen as the new coach of the struggling Jupiler Pro League side, the Gambian was recalled back from his contract in Asia and the club is hoping that he will once again find his scoring touch in a desperate attempt to avoid relegation.

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Source: AllAfrica

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