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Child refugee to play for Gambia at AFCON

AS Roma midfielder Ebrima Darboe, who made a perilous journey as a child migrant from Africa across the Mediterranean by boat, has been included in Gambia’s squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Darboe, 20, debuted in Serie A last season after arriving as a 14-year-old boat refugee in Sicily. He had travelled alone from Gambia crossing the Mediterranean by boat from Libya in a six-month journey.

He began playing with an amateur club and was signed by Roma aged 16.

Darboe is among four players from top flight Italian clubs who headline the 28-man squad named by coach Tom Saintfiet on Wednesday for Gambia’s debut appearance at the continental championship.

It is an eclectic mix, including several players from clubs in the lower leagues in England, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Gambia have been drawn in Group F at the Cup of Nations finals and start against Mauritania on January 12. They also have Mali and Tunisia in their group.

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