When Ibra Sanoh was on his way to a record 101 goals in 70 matches for the Holland Hurricanes College team on PEI, there was one person watching who knew he was going to make it one day.
Warren Banks drove the bus to most of Sanoh’s matches throughout his time with the Hurricanes and picked him out as a top prospect instantly.
“I saw right away he had one of the hardest kicks I’ve seen, he can shoot a rocket,” said Banks. “He’s also great with his teammates, always encouraging and made me feel part of the team.”
The Coach Atlantic driver said it was special times watching Sanoh develop each year with the Hurricanes, picking up accolades like Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association player of the year once and the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association player of the year four times.
“I told him whichever team he signed for as a professional I would be at the first match,” smiled Banks.
Thrilled to hear the big forward had signed for Halifax, Banks was thinking a trip to the Wanderers Grounds was in his future, until the Island Games was announced in his home province of Prince Edward Island.
“It’s just so exciting, seeing him back here and it’s great for PEI, to have something like this is amazing,” said Banks.
The Wanderers number 9 said it’s been a special beginning to the Island Games meeting back up with the driver who always believed in him.
“It’s been nice seeing Warren again, he’s a really good person and is always giving advice, he would always say go out there and win and do your best and he never just sits on the bus during the games, he is always cheering for the team,” Sanoh said.
Having a familiar face behind the wheel when heading to training on the bus is helping the big forward settle into a rhythm for what will be the biggest games of his life.
“It’s cool having a driver who makes you feel comfortable, there’s no stress because he laughs and talks to everyone and makes jokes on the bus,” Sanoh said.
Because of his duties as a driver for the Island Games and due to Covid-19 restrictions, Banks may not be able to see Sanoh play in person but meeting up again has been a highlight.
“Even if I have to watch on TV I really just want to watch to see him kick that ball again,” said Banks.
But Sanoh is not making any promises about rewarding his old driver with a rocket strike.
“I think placing the ball is more important for me now so I’ve been working on the placement because it gives you more control.”
The Wanderers begin their Island Games campaign this coming Saturday, August 15th against Pacific FC on Prince Edward Island.
The match kicks off at 4 p.m. AT and you can follow on One Soccer by joining The Collective, which also includes a 2020 Wanderers away shirt.