Sierra Leone international Mohamed Buya Turay was so determined to make an impact with his new Swedish club that he missed his wedding in July to join Malmo’s pre-season training.
Instead, a few days after being photographed in Freetown wedding photos, Turay was replaced by her brother in the capital, a feature not uncommon in Islamic weddings.
That is, Malmo submitted his signature on July 22, a day after Turay was supposed to attend his wedding.
“I wasn’t because Malmo asked me to come here earlier,” he said later Swedish newspaper Afton Bladet.
“We took the pictures beforehand. So it looks like I was there but I wasn’t. My brother was supposed to stand in for me at the wedding itself.”
But while Turay’s brother may have covered it on his wedding day, he certainly can’t cope with the demands of top-flight European football.
Indeed, the 27-year-old is “thrilled” to be back in Sweden after joining the country’s most successful club, giving him a shot at Europa League glory.
“It’s a dream for me to play in the Europa League with Malmo,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
After exiting from Champions League qualification, Turay helped Malmo reach the group stage of the Europa League, where they are in Group D alongside Portugal’s Sporting Braga, Germany’s Union Berlin and Belgium’s Union Saint Gilloise.
He played more than an hour in the opening 2-0 defeat At home in Braga but he wasn’t there after losing 3-2 in Belgium, and – after scoring two goals in the third round against the F91 Dudelange team from Luxembourg – he is still looking for his first goal in the group stage.
However, it could come as early as Thursday evening, when Malmo host Union Berlin.
“Some people don’t appreciate the Swedish league”
Turay knows Swedish football very well, having spent most of his club career in the Scandinavian country.
In 2019, while on loan at Djurgardens IF, he Won the Allsvenskan title and the league’s golden boot award with 15 goals.
“The Swedish league made me known,” said Turay, who wants to boost his credentials in return.
Indeed, while the country’s top flight is not among Europe’s best, ranked 23rd out of 55 leagues in European governing body Uefa’s coefficients, the 27-year-old has a very different outlook.
His comments come after he returned to Sweden in July on a three-and-a-half-year deal with champions Malmo, having previously left Chinese Super League side Henan Songshan Longmen by mutual consent.
“I know that some people don’t value the Swedish league very highly, but they are not in Sweden to feel the pace and the quality,” he stated.
“The standard is high and it is very competitive. If the league level is not good and not highly rated, why are Swedish teams playing in the Champions League and the Europa League? [group stages] Every year?”
Tips for Chinese Kallon
Turay was part of Sierra Leone’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals in Cameroon earlier this year, playing in all three of their matches against Algeria, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea.
His team-mate Issa Kallon, who also played in the Nations Cup, joined Chinese Super League side Shanghai Port from Dutch side Cambuur immediately after Turay left for Malmo in China.
Go ahead, who He went to China in 2020 and who also featured for Hebei FC and Henan Songshan Longmen in the Super League, says Kallon must fully commit himself on and off the field to adapt to his new life in the Asian nation.
“My advice is that he has to work harder than anyone on his team to be successful,” he said.
“I’m proud of the step he’s taken to get there. He made a smart move by taking his family with him and that will keep him motivated to perform well in the team.
“I know it’s hard to be there without your family. I went through a lot without my family in the last four years, but thank God I’m married now.”