ALHAJI Momodou Nije, more commonly known as Biri Biri, was born on March 30, 1948, in Banjul, the capital of Gambia.He was the first Gambian footballer to play professionally abroad and was the first African player to play professionally in Denmark.A right-winger, he is regarded by many commentators as the best Gambian footballer of all time and was often described as the “African Pele”.

Biri Biri started his career with various Gambian clubs before making the move overseas to Derby County, where he arrived in December 1970 for a one-month trial after being spotted by club scouts. It was not a success and Rams boss Brian Clough did not offer him a contract.

He returned to Gambia to play for Wallidan Banjul, before moving to Europe once more in 1972. He signed for Danish club B 1901 before moving to Spanish club Sevilla FC in 1973, becoming the first black player to play for the club. He is regarded by Sevilla fans as a cult figure and, at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, the most loyal fans named their cheering section (and thus, themselves) “Biris Norte” in honour of him.

He stayed at Sevilla until 1978 when he moved back to Denmark, playing for Herfølge BK until 1981 when he returned to Gambia and Wallidan Banjul.He ended his career at the club in 1987.

In 2000, Biri was awarded the Order of Merit by Gambian president Yahya Jammeh and was named Gambia’s “greatest footballer of the last millennium and of all time”.He is now a civil servant for Banjul council, while he also coaches young children at Wallidan Banjul.

Source: Derby Telegraph