Why Carl Lindner should open his wallet wide for Djiby Fall
In 2016 FC Cincinnati was blessed with Sean Okoli. He scored the very first goal in FC Cincinnati history, and boy was it a beauty. He would then go on to score a league-leading 16 goals in 29 appearances. Okoli seemed to be the next best striker, and certainly a very bright spot on this young squad moving forward. But Okoli's success was to Cincinnati's dismay, his 16 goals got the interest of some major league eyes, and Okoli was signed by MLS club New York City FC.
And so FCC was left without its marquee striker heading into a critical season that would have the shadow of moving to the MLS hovering above them. With them being in a lower league acquiring high-end talent can be difficult, so USL is usually left with players trying to make a name for themselves, or players who aren't quite nobodies, but not good enough for the majors. So FCC signed Djiby Fall, a 31-year-old footballer from Senegal who had different spells in Russia, Denmark, Germany, and Norway. There wasn't much to go on other than him being the top scorer in his season in Norway with 16 goals.
Little did we know what we were in store for. On Djiby's first home game in Cincinnati, he would score 4 goals for the home side. If any fan of soccer in Cincinnati didn't know the name Djiby, they certainly did now. Djiby currently leads the team in goals with 8 out of the 15 total team goals. Add in his 3 clutch game-winning goals in the team's three US Open Cup games and that kicks his total up to 11 goals in 11 appearances. If it weren't for his 6 game suspension (which I would argue was not warranted), Djiby could be upward of 15 goals on the season already.
The point is Djiby puts the ball in the net when it's needed most. His clutch goal against the Columbus Crew will be one to be remembered. The fan base loves him, with Senegal flags flying throughout the stands and custom made Djiby signs and t-shirts littering the fan base. Djiby has frequently said how much he loved playing in front of the home crowd, and surely the 30,000 folks that walk into Nippert is the best crowd he's gotten thus far in his career.
But much of this could be said about Sean Okoli, who was much younger and perhaps much more potential as a player. FCC's front office let him slip away to a major league contract. As more eyes and major league expectations start to fall on Cincinnati, the team needs to make sure it keeps hold of its players. Djiby is the face of this team right now, bringing goals and excitement to the team. During his absence the team with through a bit of a lull, but with his return, the team is back in action and surely Koch, Berding, and Lindner can see that.
There's already been rumor's of major league sides such as LA Galaxy pursuing an interest in Djiby, but the front office must make a stand. When a player does well for them, they reward them with quality and competitive pay to keep them here. Should Cincinnati make it to the MLS in the next couple seasons, the team needs it's marquee players to be there.
So I say to you, Mr. Lindner, open your wallet wide because Djiby Fall is the man you've been looking for.
(Photo courtesy of @baye_djiby/Twitter)