"Unreal potential": Sima's rapid rise from farmland practice to Arsenal tie

Published Apr 08 2021 at 7:30 AM GMT
  • Slavia Prague forward is hot property and Senegal international after rising from obscurity in France and Czech RepublicAt the tail end of a harsh south Bohemian winter, the higher echelons of European football could hardly have seemed further away.
  • Abdallah Sima was 18 when he arrived at FC Taborsko, then in the Czech Republic's third tier, shortly before Covid-19 stopped play.
  • Lodged in a rural apartment, there was little to do except train: so it was that Sima's first two months were spent on a flattened patch of farmland, flanked by piles of chopped timber, kicking balls between cones with the former football coach who owned his accommodation.
  • On Thursday evening, though, Sima will step out at the Emirates Stadium as one of the most highly prized young forwards around.
  • When Slavia Prague took him from Taborsko last July, he had yet to play a competitive match and the move was viewed as a punt: Sima would begin in the Czech champions' B team and sink or swim from there, although his advisers were not shy in telling the Slavia hierarchy he would not require such a significant adaptation spell.


  • Published Apr 8, 2021 7:30 AM GMT