Top Czech side Slavia Prague have signed 18-year-old Gambian striker Ebrima Singhateh from Estonian club Paide Linnameeskond on a five-year contract.
Singhateh, who joined Paide in January from Gambian partner club Real de Banjul, scored nine goals in 21 games during his only season in the Estonian Meistriliiga. The Gambian forward played a major role in the Estonian club's historic run in this season's UEFA Conference League, scoring twice in six games as Paide defeated Dinamo Tbilisi and Armenia Ararat before being knocked out by Belgian giants Anderlecht. Singhateh also scored 13 goals in 10 games last season for Paide's U-21 side.
In a farewell message sent from the Czech Republic, Singhateh thanked Paide and its fans for welcoming and supporting him during his time in Estonia.
"Thank you to everyone in Paide Linnameeskond for the warm welcome that was given to me since I arrived into the club and Estonia," Singhateh wrote on Instagram.
"Our Estonian Cup win was a very special moment in my life and career, memories I will always cherish and keep with me," said the Gambian striker, referring to the 1-0 win over Nõmme Kalju in the Estonian Cup Final in May, which gave Paide their first ever major trophy.
"I thank the club for offering me the chance to play in the UEFA Europa Conference League and playing against some of the best teams in Europe. I express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the club management, the coaching staff for the chance and making me a better player and of course not forgetting my teammates, who even made me even better and helped me settled," Singhateh said, adding that he would remain a fan of the club and follow their progress from afar.
"I leave the club as a player but will always follow the success as a fan and I hope my teammates go on to enjoy another European success. Thanks to the fans for their support during my time at the club and I wish the club nothing but luck. Hopefully cross paths again in the future!"
Gert Kams, Paide Linnameeskond's sporting director, said it quickly became clear when scouting Singhateh, that he had something special. "He had all the prerequisites, he just needed to be in the right place to take his first serious steps," Kams said. "He adapted to us quickly, he learned, he developed, he waited for his moment and that's why his story could be a role model for many young players."
ANNOUNCEMENT:— Paide Linnameeskond (@PLinnameeskond) August 31, 2022
We can confirm that 18-year-old Gambian Striker Ebrima Singhateh has completed a transfer to Czeck club SK Slavia Praha. We want to thank Ebrima for his services to the club during his time here and wish him the best of luck in his career! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4KonmDk3Pk
Discussing how Singhateh's move to Slavia Prague came about, Kams spoke highly of the professionalism shown by the Czech club. "They had a serious plan and a very strong interest in signing Singha. The club's standards of professionalism in the way they handled things, were extremely high," said Kams.
Kams is also pleased that Singhateh is far from being the first young international player to be brought to Paide Linnameeskond and quickly sold on to big European clubs.
"It shows that, because of our strategy, we are able to make moves like this happen. The fact that European clubs are keeping an eye on us and are interested in our players is also cause for celebration," he said. "There was a lot of interest in Singha from several sides throughout the summer and now he is a Slavia Prague player," added Kams.
Slavia Prague are 7-time Czech champions and 13-time Czechoslovak champions, and have won the Czech cup nine times. Last season, Slavia finished as runners-up in the Czech First League, and sailed through the preliminary rounds of this year's UEFA Conference League to take their place in the group stages.
Slavia currently top the Czech First League after five matches, having recorded four wins and one defeat, with their most recent game ending in a 6-0 win over Teplice. In their next fixture, Slavia travel to Slovacko, where they will face a side containing Estonian national team striker Vladi Sinjavski.
Editor: Michael Cole