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DCU's African Connection

As we suspected yesterday, D.C. United is looking to Africa to bolster its roster.

Club officials are confirming this report from Africa that they are about to acquire Sierra Leone defender Ibrahim Koroma as a developmental player. Koroma, 18, started for his country in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Equatorial Guinea. He goes by the nickname "Marcel." I am told he chose "Marcel" because he is a big fan of Desailly. His current club is Kallon FC (Freetown).

Koroma joins South African forward Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo, a USL2 player who will also be introduced in the coming days. United already has two Africans on its roster: Liberians Francis Doe and Louis Crayton.

By Steve Goff  |  September 10, 2008; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Matchnight: USA-T&T

Comments

It would be nice if we could get some more players who can help us *now*. Playoffs are looming larger and we have injuries left and right. The tin-pot consolation prize of the USOC may be all we get this year.

Posted by: Ron | September 10, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Who says these newcomers can't help us now?

Besides, the int'l window is essentially closed. There ain't much to choose from out there, unless Kasper decides to make a big trade.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Good move. It's about time MLS invests in more young African talent. Think about all the quality African youngsters that have gotten their start in Belgium or France, even Eastern Europe. Why not MLS?

Posted by: Reston, Va. | September 10, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ron - have we met?

Posted by: Minuscule MLS Salary Cap | September 10, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

. . . unless Kasper decides to make a big trade.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 4:11 PM

--------------

Bet on it.

Posted by: Ouija Board | September 10, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I had a farm team in Africa.

Posted by: Isak Dinesen | September 10, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

For a developmental roster signing, I like it compared to signing a late round draft pick college player who will just get cut in a year - a younger player like this one could be a project but you have more time to develop him. Plus, he is getting some good experience playing WC Qualifiers at a young age.

Posted by: Oliver | September 10, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Do we have any guess on how "finished" these too are? This seems to be the biggest issue with our African imports. Aside from Adu and Crayton, playing time has been a bit limited for our African's over the last several years.

Ghana
2004-06 - Freddy Adu - 5,448 Minutes
2004-05 - Nana Kouffor 271 Minutes

Ivory Coast
2007-08 - Guy-Roland Kpnene - 626 Minutes

Liberia
2008 - Francis Doe - 215 minutes
2008 - Louis Crayton - 450 minutes

Have we had any other players from Africa over the years?


Posted by: TCompton | September 10, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I am the best Sierra Leone player in DCU history.

Posted by: Abdul Thompson Conteh | September 10, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Ug...sometimes, you just can't win with some people.

Sign a vet, people complain that the team doesn't develop young players.

Sign a developmental player, people complain that DCU needs help now, not in the future.

Posted by: RK | September 10, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@ TCompton: Ben Iroha.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 10, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I am a Pittsburgh Riverhounds season ticket holder. You all are going to be very happy with Boyzzz. He's a terror on the wings. Good at getting to an open spot on the field and crossing in. I really didn't think he'd be coming back to Pittsburgh next year and we're all really sad to see him go. He's a quality person as well. He does a lot of charity work for kids in his native South Africa.

ww.SteelArmy.com for more info on the Riverhounds and Khumalo.

Posted by: Eddie | September 10, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Eddie, any guesses as to the origin of Khumalo's nickname?

Posted by: bob | September 10, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to our country and our team, Marcel and Boyzzz. We are happy to have you! We wish you the best of luck and we will cheer for you every step of the way.

Posted by: Amanda | September 10, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say, "Africa?"

"The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do whats right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the serengeti..."

Posted by: Joe Doc | September 10, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Without going to the team website, I am going to guess that the Riverhounds' colors are:

Yellow
and
Black

Now, let's see how far off I was...

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 10, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Okay, one color was kinda close -- they're blue and "old gold" it looks like.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 10, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

@TCompton: Stephen Armstrong

Posted by: apqjr | September 10, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

You guys can have Gomez back if you want...
He'll help you "now", or at least for the next 20 minutes before he has to be subbed out due to exhaustion. What a flop he's been.

Regardless, we need more guys with cool names in this league...

Posted by: Hacksaw | September 10, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

...and it appears that Khumalo was an all-league player this year. From the Riverhounds' index page:

"Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo was named to the United Soccer Leagues Second Division All-League First Team. The lightning-fast Pittsburgh striker scored six goals, had three assists and was instrumental in the Riverhounds' late-season drive that kept them in the chase for a playoff spot until the final night of regular season play. That was good for 15-points, tying Khumalo for sixth in the league. Khumalo, who played collegiately at Coastal Carolina, appeared in all 20 Riverhounds regular season games and logged 1,723 minutes. He also appeared in both Lamar Hunt U. S. Open Cup Tournament matches in which the Hounds played in 2008 as well."

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 10, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

MLS Premier League?
DC United FC?
I like it!

Posted by: andrew | September 10, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Equatorial Guinea. I just found my new second favorite national team.

What time of the year was it when The Bruce brough in Jaime Moreno? August rings a bell, but it could have been earlier.

Sometimes a new player can be just what a team needs to go on a tear. Hopefully our new additions will do just that.

Posted by: Joe Doc | September 10, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe people are complaining. Clearly this kid not only has some pedigree, but clear intelligence..... or did no one else bother to read that he turned down the galaxy. That alone should earn him a round of applause or at least the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Sounds good to me.
African imports are the new fixed gear freestyle bikes!
Talk about bling, these dudes come with their own funky nicknames!
Hey Eddie! Thanks for the seal of approval! You get lots of props for *letting him go*. Hopefully I'll be owing you some beers someday if he works out.

Posted by: dadryan | September 10, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

So, DC United has scouted in South America, now Africa whats next?
Asia? Europe really doesnt fit DC's style

Posted by: Spartan | September 10, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Who does United currently have that's trade-bait?

My list:
Dyachenko
Burch
Wells

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 10, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

No, Europe doesn't fit United nor MLS' wallet.

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 10, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Antarctica. Some of the residents show great potential. You could say that they have Happy Feet.

[groans of disgust]

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 10, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully they can turn into Essein, Ebu, adebayur, etc

Posted by: td | September 10, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Antarctica. Some of the residents show great potential. You could say that they have Happy Feet.

[groans of disgust]

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 10, 2008 6:15 PM

Nominated for lamest joke of the day. ;)

Posted by: United fury | September 10, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Who does United currently have that's trade-bait?

My list:
Dyachenko
Burch
Wells


Posted by: AlecW81 | September 10, 2008 6:13 PM
--------------------------------------
err.. not really sure about burch..
but here is mine:
Wells
Kirk
Dyachenko
J. or P. Carroll
McTavish

Posted by: Spartan | September 10, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I-270, Exit 1; United fury,

Seconded.

Spartan,

Chang does want to cross-promote DCU in China...

Hacksaw,

We'll take Gomez back if you pay his salary. :)

Posted by: B.A. | September 10, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Robert Ssejjemba is another African player that, for at least a brief while, played for DCU. I think he's the only one that went unmentioned on this post.

MLS should absolutely be pursuing African players. Europe will only provide DPs, the occasional Carl Robinson, or the occasional Steve Guppy. Players from the big African countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon are likely out of our range (though Colorado did have Alain Nkong, who is now a regular for Cameroon). However, Africa still has tons of good players that end up in leagues MLS can compete with financially (or at least, can compete once you factor in how much people want to live here compared to Eastern Europe/former USSR states). The connection being set up through Mamadou Diallo and Patrick McCabe should be a strong development for MLS, as the league can bring in promising young players from a place it can actually afford.

As for Koroma, I have never heard of him. However, starting at center back at just 18 years old, and for a mid-level African team, is promising. I've been saying we've needed another actual center back for the past 2 years, so I'm happy to see it finally being addressed. If he can contribute now, it would be huge, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect an 18 year old to undergo such a massive culture change and succeed this year.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | September 10, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Abdul Thompson Conteh (also from Sierra Leone)

glad to have a Salone Star on the team hope he does well.

Posted by: Pindar | September 10, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Alex Pato was not even 18 when he signed with AC Milan so if he can shine doesn't matter you are 18 or 16 they tear off the defense. But then again the coaches have this fear that OH he is a kid he is not experience, he can't handle kind of mental issue rather let the kid play have fun. That's how it ruins the potential.
Look what happens when you give the chance. Theo Walcott. A hat trick on away game against a hard core tema Croetia today.

Posted by: td | September 10, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

ROY WEGERLE.

We should be embarrassed to leave him of the list.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 10, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Hacksaw,

Sorry about that. Yeah, Gomez was in terrible shape last year, too. Drove me batty, but he was still able to find a second gear when we needed it. Your coaches just don't get him. I'll take him back...

As for these African signings -- I'll reserve comment until I've actually seen them play, except to say that I think MLS should be doing much more of this. The Europeans will still skim the cream, but there are plenty of talented players who would kill for a chance to play in the U.S.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 10, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Stephen Armstrong.

Posted by: David | September 10, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

In terms of tpping the African player market, MLS will be well-served to carve a niche in the English-speaking Western Arfican countries which are non top-tier national teams - Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia.

Posted by: Oliver | September 10, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully they can turn into Essein, Ebu, adebayur, etc

Posted by: td | September 10, 2008 6:19 PM


I'm certain this is sarcasm, but the closest we might get to Michael Essien is his cousin Fred Essien.

I'm happy they're bringing in these players, and from what I'm reading, I figure adding speed is the goal. Speed off the bench would be nice.

Posted by: Chimaera | September 11, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is finally... You can trawl the archives back 6-12 months and find me calling for MLS to scout Africa more. Although the Goffer kind of shot me down when I proposed it...

Posted by: edgeonyou | September 11, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna take a lot to drive me away from you!
It's nothin' that a hundred men or more could ever do!

Posted by: To Africa! | September 11, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

if Koroma who is just an 18 yrs old locally based player can play and Stop Premierships Players Yakubu, John Utaka, Mikel Obi, Nwanko Kanu and La liga Kalu Uchechukwu etc etc and South Africans Modesi, Pienaar and plays top football in africa's World Cup qualifiers, i think he is such a telent to Invest on.

Posted by: Soccermania | September 12, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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