From Sierra Leone to Winnipeg: Long road to Blue Bombers for Abubakarr Conteh

May 27, 2017

WINNIPEG — Drafted by his hometown team earlier this month you’d be hard pressed to wipe the smile off the face of 21-year-old Abubakarr Conteh. But his life wasn’t always this good.

Born into a civil war in Sierra Leone, Conteh and his mother escaped the war torn country, eventually landing in Winnipeg before his ninth birthday.

“I don’t remember much of it, but what I’ve been told it’s pretty tragic,” Conteh said. “But we made it out, and like I said, god’s been good to me and my family. We made it out of a very, very unique situation where most people don’t make it out of.”
But get out they did and growing up in Winnipeg he never really showed an interest in football and was more into the sport of basketball.

“I never watched the Bombers play ever before,” he said.

But his path would change when a high school coach at Kildonan East convinced him to give football a try.

“Honestly I never saw football in my future,” Conteh said.
“That brief experience with KE (Kildonan East) that year and then obviously season was over, left it and didn’t play for another year, year and a half.”

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At the age of 16 Conteh moved to the United States when his mother got married. That’s when he got really serious about football. And after playing his final two collegiate seasons at Grambling State, the Bombers selected him in the third round of the 2017 CFL Draft.

“He’s a good looking athlete who is young to the game really, so, and obviously young to the Canadian game too, so, we’ll take our time with him,” head coach Mike O’Shea said.

“I have confidence in myself making this team,” said Conteh. “Because I know I’m going to give it my full effort, and I believe that will be enough.”

Conteh will know for sure when the Bombers finalize their 46 man roster on June 17.

By Russ Hobson

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