Sunday, November 18, 2018

Karamoko Dembele: The Next Big Thing?

Karamoko Dembele making history both for Scotland and Celtic / Image via

Karamoko Dembele making history both for Scotland and Celtic / Image via

World football is buzzing with excitement over Celtic’s child prodigy Karamoko Dembele who went from just another young boy to arguably the hottest football sensation in a month’s time.

The buzz for the youngsters who has been announced as the next big thing perhaps a tad too early is real and well-justified though, but who exactly is Karamoko Dembele, the much talked about lad who’s got the football community eating out of the palm of his hand?

Years Behind – Streets Ahead

Coming off the bench in Celtic’s win over Hearts early in October, Karamoko Dembele went on to win many hearts as the 13-year-old played final nine minutes for the Under 20 development team.

It may not seem like much, but those nine minutes were more than enough for a new football sensation to be born.

Confident and composed, with a wide smile on his face, the 13-year-old Karamoko showed no fear as he was running his strides against players who were at least three years his seniors. Dembele skipped several youth levels when he was included in the Under 20 side, proving the old football adage of being old enough if you are good enough true all over again.

And although this cameo appearance helped Karamoko Dembele achieve world-wide fame, the youngster is by no means a new boy wonder.

Stellar Rise

His dazzling displays for Celtic’s schoolboy sides against the likes of Barcelona at this summer’s St Kevin’s Boys Academy Cup in Dublin have already helped him become an internet sensation. Having been voted Player of the Tournament, Karamoko Dembele left the numerous European scouts in awe over his prodigious talents.

Flying down the wing never looking out of his place, Karamoko Dembele continued to impress at the prestigious Bassevelde Cup in Belgium in September, which was just another stepping stone in diminutive playmaker’s early career.

Following his historic Under 20 debut, the 13-year-old once again hit the headlines as he has been given his Scotland Under 16s debut this week. Dembele came off the bench in Scotland’s 2-2 stalemate with Wales in the Victory Shield to display a confident and a composed appearance against a strong group of players.

Three years younger than other players on the pitch, Karamoko Dembele used his magic to bamboozle his rivals in one particular moment which highlighted his entire performance.  Despite the height difference, which was obvious and noticeable, making Dembele look like a boy who lost his way among men – which in a way he was – the young boy’s talents helped him make a fitting announcement.

There was a long ball coming his way with much taller defender behind him, but the 13-year-old executed a neat reception and aplomb turn leaving defender for dead behind him. Push to the ball and neatly skins to the left helped his lose his marker and get into empty space for a run towards the box.

Early Worries

Scotland have truly been blessed with a rare world-class gem among their ranks, but they will face a tough battle, together with Celtic, to hold on to the boy.

Born in London to Ivorian parents, Dembele moved to Glasgow at the age of five and he will not be tied to a national side until he has made a senior appearance which – despite his stellar progress – is some way off.

The Scottish Football Association is fighting hard to convince the midfielder to pledge his international allegiance to Scotland instead of Ivory Coast or England. Celtic are facing a similar struggle as scouts and agents continue to sniff around the boy.

The Scottish giants have made all the right steps to wrap the youngster in the healthiest surroundings possible in order to keep him away from alluring and often deceiving football world. It comes more often than we would all love it to that young and talented players get enticed to a glamorous stage before quickly being dropped as a complete waste of time and effort.

Celtic’s own Islam Feruz is the example not to follow.

He went through a similar path making his appearance for Celtic at the age of 14 before getting swayed by the riches of Chelsea in 2011 after which his career got lost in the mud following loan spells at OFI Crete, Hibernian and most recently Excel Mouscron.

Karamoko Dembele has all the prerequisites to succeed, however.

Celtic coaches describe the boy as level-headed and well-grounded, modest lad, willing to learn and make timely progress both on physical and mental level. Dembele’s big brother Siriki is a big help in that regard as he keeps guiding his little brother, keeping him grounded and on the right path.

With proper guidance and adequate educations perhaps we would be able to see one of the “next Messi” players ultimately live up to the big expectations after all?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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