By Santokie Nagulendran
Whilst football in Guyana has been stagnant in recent times, that has not stopped young, talented Guyanese players from prospering overseas. One such player, Trayon Bobb, has proven to be an exceptional young talent and currently plays his club football in Lithuania, one of the few Guyanese players to make the move abroad to Europe professionally.
Candidate for the stand-out star of the Guyanese National team during their historic 2014 World Cup qualifying games, young left-winger Trayon Bobb , hailing from Utivlugt village, was influential for the Jaguars, his pace caused international defenders a problem and he scored two high quality goals in a 2-2 away draw against El Salvador in very tough conditions. Bobb kindly took some time out to reflect on his career so far.
Growing up, Bobb always had the dream of playing football professionally: “It was always my ambition, I also used to play cricket but I ended up giving up on it as I pushed on with football, growing up my idol was Ronaldinho,” he says. He was only 18 years old when he played in the World Cup qualifiers, showing unbelievable composure and talent during the biggest footballing period in Guyana’s history, altogether he played a remarkable 17 games for the National Team in 2012 and cemented his place, as an integral part of the squad whilst still just a teenager.
At the time of his International success for Guyana, Bobb was playing his club football for Caledonia AIA in Trinidad and Tobago’s professional league, after initially being spotted by scouts during his stand-out performances in 2010’s Kashif and Shanghai tournament for West Demerara aged just 16. The move to T&T at such a young age was an eye-opener for Bobb: “In Guyana we don’t have such a good league (as in T&T) and so it was a very good experience for me.”
Bobb went on to play in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League with Caledonia, including a start against Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders, and was rewarded in December 2012, when the club chose to send Bobb and fellow Guyanese International Walter Moore, to Turkey to take part in overseas trials. The next step, playing professionally in Europe, was now on the horizon for Bobb.
Unfortunately as Guyana is not ranked within the top 70 places in the FIFA World Rankings, securing a work visa to join a club in England is virtually impossible, so, despite also being invited to trials with English clubs Nottingham Forest and Watford, Bobb, instead chose to secure a contract in Finland, signing for second-division club Tornion Pallo-47 in February 2013 and consequently scoring a hat-trick for the club in a cup game only a few weeks later. He finished the season in May 2013 having played 12 league games for the club and scoring 6 goals, fantastic results for a winger. Speaking on how he found it adapting in a new continent, Bobb said, “The weather was not the same (as in the Caribbean) and there were language differences in Finland, but the quality of football was high in Finland and I have learnt a lot.”
In June 2013 his impressive performances meant he was loaned out to Finnish club Rovaniemen Palloseura, a first division Finnish club, and Bobb thus became the first player in Guyanese History to play in the Veikkausliiga, aka the Premier Division in Finland. After making three appearances, Bobb was subsequently taken to Lithuania in July 2013, whereupon he made a loan move to Premier Division side FK Kruoja. His hard work for the team has seen them qualify for next season’s UEFA Europa League competition, and Bobb will get a chance to show his talent to a wider audience in that competition.
Despite now earning his living abroad, Bobb has not forgotten Guyana, and recently came back to temporarily play for the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) in the 2014 GFA Banks Beer Cup, helping the side qualify for the quarter-finals by remarkably scoring five goals against Houston Stars FC on Saturday 20th December. Speaking of his return, Bobb said “Playing back in Guyana has been a good experience for me to showcase my talent at home.”
Of the greatest moments so far in his young career, Bobb said, “Guyana vs El Salvador when I scored two wonderful goals was a great moment for me and the best player I faced was Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez during Guyana’s match against Mexico in 2012, a player who is at Real Madrid now.” With high ambitions, and the talent to match it, Bobb will surely be heading to the big European leagues in years to come and no doubt be creating more memorable moments.
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