BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SEAN MURDOCH is aiming to help the footballing dreams of an aspiring African goalkeeper come true after revealing he is shipping gloves and kit to Nigeria.
The Dunfermline number one connected with promising 20-year-old Horlah Sarpeh, who is currently plying his trade in the Ghanaian second tier with Dunkwa United FC, through social networking site LinkedIn and was quickly won over by his drive and dedication.
Sarpeh’s natural talent has seen him train with Swedish sides Syrianksa and Sodertalje FK before returning to his homeland in 2016. Nevertheless, his lack of resources is a continual challenge, with the 6ft4ins stopper lining up in his domestic league with tattered gloves and missing studs.
And Murdoch, with the assistance of Pars kit-man Mo Hutton, has resolved to do what he can to aid Sarpeh, who is currently preparing to undertake trials in Nigeria as he seeks to win a top-flight contract in one of the most prestigious leagues on the continent.
“I keep in contact with a young goalkeeper over there, Horlah, who has a big trial coming up in Nigeria,” explained Murdoch. “He doesn’t have any materials, so Mo [Hutton], the kitman here, helped me out with some rain jackets, tops, shorts and under armour, while I put in the boots and gloves for him.
“I’ll be shipping that over to him and hopefully it can make a wee difference. He showed me pictures of where he lives and what he is using for boots and gloves; boots that were torn and only had five studs instead of six, gloves that had holes in them.
“If I can help in any way then why not? We throw our boots and gloves out and I don’t even know what happens to old kit, whereas that might be something that can help a young man on a tough journey, who is desperate for a chance to play at a good level.
“At least he can kit himself properly, give himself the best chance to attend these trials and possibly get a contract. He has played second division football in Ghana and I did a bit of research, read a couple of articles, and he seems a talented boy. He’s only 20 so you never know where he might go with a bit of support.”
Murdoch admits he has been humbled by the desire shown by Sarpeh in the face of adversity, with his bid to carve out any sort of career in the game affording a sense of perspective to the former Hibernian and Hamilton custodian.
“His attitude and dedication is amazing,” continued Murdoch. “Sometimes you don’t realise what you have in Scotland, until you see someone like that who needs to scrap for the smallest chance.
“He just wants to make it as a pro and he tells me about his background and challenges and it is inspiring. We might moan about things here, but it’s worth appreciating simple things like a house, literacy, opportunities.”
Murdoch, however, has concerns closer to home this afternoon as Dunfermline host Queen of the South, seeking to arrest a winless run of five Championship fixtures, including stalemates against Morton and Dumbarton at East End Park.
The Pars remain in a playoff berth – albeit only ahead of Queens on goal difference – however Murdoch is acutely aware that they must rediscover their winning touch swiftly to retain their title aspirations.
“The recent performances have been nowhere near the manager’s satisfaction, which he has made absolutely clear,” he added.
“At the start of the season, without being disrespectful, we were just blowing teams away. Of course, you are going to come off it a little bit, you can’t keep that up for an entire campaign, but we need to get back to what we were doing sooner rather than later.”