From Romania – China: Is Complacency Responsible For Jabateh-Oliseh Being Journeyman?

Monrovia – Sekou Jabateh-Oliseh has joined Chinese League One club Dalian Yifang from Astra Giurgiu on a free transfer until December 31, 2016. His deal was sealed and stamped on June 25 and Jabateh-Oliseh, who was handed the #22 jersey, is yet to make his debut.

Report by: Danesius Marteh, 

Jabateh-Oliseh’s market value at the time of deal was US$604,890, according to

He had three days to the end of his contract, having joined the Romanian Liga One club on March 18 but failed to break into the first team. Jabateh-Oliseh scored the winning goal in his only game in a friendly match against FC Volunteers on March 25 after more than a week in training.

He played the first 45 minutes as both teams played a good physical workout. The 26-year-old becomes the fourth foreign player after Sierra Leone’s Mohammed Bangura (#11), Romania’s Constantin Budescu (#10) and Zimbabwe’s Nyasha Mushekwi.

Complacency or misfortune?

The Liberia international has been somewhat of a journeyman since his impressive performance for CSKA Moscow against Real Madrid in the knockout round of 2011/2012 Uefa Champions League.

His first leg performance at the Stadion Luzhniki in Moscow partially turned Monrovia into a ghost town as crazy fans scrambled to get a glimpse of the available television on February 21, 2012.

Jabateh-Oliseh replaced Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa in the 64th minute. It was a substitution coach Leonid Slutski had anticipated as left back Fábio Coentrão became the victim of circumstances and was subsequently yellow-carded for a foul on Oliseh.

The pressure was too much to bear as debutant Pontus Wernbloom cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo’s 28th minute opener with the last kick of the match to end the visitors’ winning run in the 93rd minute.

Before the second leg in which CSKA lost 1-4 in Madrid on March 14, 2012, Jabateh-Oliseh came to Monrovia for a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia on February 29, 2012.

He was the talk of the town, having played a pivotal role as Liberia won 1-0 in a gusty match, courtesy of a 67th minute goal by Dioh Williams. But there is an air of belief that Jabateh-Oliseh had many girls and could eat and drink whatever he wanted.

So, long before his departure for Russia, there were indications that the fame and its attending effects were too much to bear for a promising footballer, who was only 22 years. 

He replaced Musa in the second leg in 60th minute but it was now evidently cleared that his days at CSKA were numbered.

At the end of the 2011/2012 season, he accumulated 38 appearances totaling 1,569 minutes but the 2012/2013 became somewhat of a nightmare as he amassed 11 appearances totaling 115 minutes at the mid-point review.

Deemed surplus to requirements, Jabateh-Oliseh was loaned to PAOK of Greece for the remainder of the 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 seasons and the 2014/2015 season at Kuban Krasnodar before his contract formally ended on July 31, 2015.  

He was reported to have signed in Qatar, China, Moldova and Macedonia and even bizarrely turned down a move to English Premier League club Crystal Palace.

Jabateh-Oliseh has been conspicuously absent from matches in the 2018 World Cup and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

But James Salinsa Debbah, who is all too familiar with controversies from his playing to coaching days, unsealed one by inviting Jabateh-Oliseh for a 2017 Afcon qualifiers with Togo on June 5 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS).

Debbah ignored Jabateh-Oliseh for selection at his request when Liberia played Guinea Bissau over two legs in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

“Jabateh just left the country for Moldova [to sign a new contract]. We are looking at [the possibility of using him]. It is impossible for him to come back in time [for the games],” Debbah said at a news conference on October 1, 2015.

Asked why Jabateh-Oliseh was selected for the match with Tunisia having been clubless since CSKA ended his five-year, Debbah said: “He was in transition. He wasn’t clubless.” 

Jabateh-Oliseh was an unused substitute in the 1-0 win over Tunisia on September 5, 2015 at the ATS. 

Before his departure, Jabateh-Oliseh dodged a media inquiry about his reported transfer to Qatar’s Al Gharafa Sports Club.

Jabateh-Oliseh said he will only speak to UNMIL Radio sports producer and presenter Martina Brooks about his failed deal in August 2015.

Jabateh-Oliseh was unresponsive to phone calls and text messages but finally picked his call on September 25, 2015 at 21:03 GMT (9:03PM local time).

“Who gave you my number? I will only speak to Martina Brooks of UNMIL Radio because that’s my sister and I gave her my number.”

“I didn’t share my number with you. Thank you and bye-bye,” said Jabateh-Oliseh, who later hanged-off.

He had shared a picture of himself with team officials Fahad Al Yahri and Hussein Al Yahri at the Hamad international airport with few journalists and friends, which went viral on social media.

Fahad and Hussein had gone to welcome Jabateh-Oliseh, who was scheduled to undergo a medical before putting pen to paper ahead of the new season, which kicked-off on September 11, 2015.

Jabateh-Oliseh was to replace Australia’s Mark Bresciano but the reported deal didn’t materialize.

He joined CSKA from Denmark’s FC Midtjylland in 2009 and last played a total of 12 competitive matches when Kuban lost 1-0 away to CSKA on match day 17, replacing Romania’s Gheorghe Bucur in the 63rd minute on December 6, 2014.

In total, Jabateh-Oliseh played for 739 minutes before he was recalled from his loan deal following the departure of Ivory Coast Seydou Doumbia to AS Roma in Italy in the January transfer window.

But Jabateh-Oliseh is unperturbed by the lack of competitive matches for club and country.

“Da because of bad dream I will not sleep lol,” Jabateh posted on Facebook on March 26. According to, Jabateh’s value dropped on December 21, 2015 from US$1,082,865 to US$874,253. 

In November 2010, he was worth appropriately US$41,527,029 or £2.85m. 

Jabateh-Oliseh last played for Liberia in a 2-0 defeat to Lesotho in a 2015 Afcon qualifier at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on June 1, 2014.  

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