by Baboucarr Camara
Gambian hopeful Joe Sise said he had shunned offers from top clubs within and outside of Sweden to join IS Halmia in the fourth year of Swedish football.
Sise, 26, a prolific striker born to Gambian parents in Sweden, hasn’t played a competitive football in more than four years due to recurring injuries but signed with the little known team from Halmstad this week as he attempts to return to top level football.
“I had offers from abroad, Allsvenskan [Swedish Premier League] and Superettan, but with the [injury] background I have, I’m very careful with what step I take and I feel Division 2 is a good level to build me up,” Sise told Halmia’s official website after putting pen to paper on a contract that runs until the summer with the option to extend.
“My plan is that I will be available in four to six weeks. I have built up my strength and have never been stronger, but I need to work on my fitness. I am grateful that I have been given this chance. There is so much that I have been through so I take nothing for granted.”
Sise made his debut for ex-Allsvenskan side Halmstad BK at the age of 19, seven years ago and after allowing his contract to run down at the end of the 2011 season, he signed a three-year deal with Denmark’s FC Nordsjaelland in the winter of 2012 but left at the end of his contract without featuring in a single competitive fixture.
He tore his Achilles tendon on his first day of training with the Danes and as he neared his return to action after almost four months on the sidelines, he suffered another setback; he first broke his foot and later his knee.
“I got an infection in my lap when I had surgery and was hospitalised again for further operations. Then I lost all the muscles in my body and has since been building up the body again; it has taken me two years to get to this shape,” Joe Sise added.
“In the winter, I started to train with the ball again. Martin Pringle was assistant coach in Copenhagen and we commuted together from Helsingborg when I was in Nordsjaelland. Now he is the coach of Eskilsminne IF and I followed him there and trained with them but ended up signing for Halmia even though I had never played in the Division 2 level. The team is young so it is clearly a challenge for me.”
Halmia’s Club Manager Leif Jonsson played a critical role in bringing Joe Sise to the Orjan Valls Stadium. The Club said the deal is an overall concept that suits both parties. While hoping that the Gambian will soon return to match sharpness, the Club added that the financial terms of the agreement is nothing that endangers its economy, contrary to what some seem to think.
After their relegation from the third tier last year, Halmia lost several of its prominent players to other clubs and as a result, the club invested its energy in attracting seasoned campaigners with credentials from playing at the highest level. Joe joined former Kalmar and Heerenveen striker Patrik Ingelsten at the club.
“Already in December we decided what we wanted and the focus was already on Patrick and Joe,” Leif Jonsson told his Club’s official website. “But at the same time it is a gamble to bring in Joe. We are aware of his injury history,” he concluded.