“At home there is where you can find peace” Bakery Jatta

“At home there is where you can find peace” Bakery Jatta

By Jörg Marwedel

  • Before the Hamburg derby against FC St. Pauli, HSV striker Bakery Jatta comments for the first time about his difficult weeks in autumn 2019.
  • After being accused of having changed his identity, Jatta was racially abused at the away game in Karlsruhe and was also exploited by the AfD.
  • The HSV, says Jatta, “protected and protected” him in this situation.

On Saturday in the local derby against FC St. Pauli, Bakery Jatta will probably have nothing to fear from the opposing fans – although his club, Hamburger SV, is the Kiezclub’s favorite enemy. Already in September 2019, shortly after Sport-Bild sowed doubts about the identity of the Gambian who fled to Germany in 2015, they received him at the second division duel at the Millerntor with the poster “Welcome Bakery Jatta”. 

But the weeks in which even the DFB and the district office in Hamburg-Mitte looked for evidence that Jatta wasn’t actually Bakary Daffeh and two years older were difficult times for the 21-year-old. He felt “pilloried” and felt like “they wanted to lock me up, put me in prison”.

These sentences come from an interview that the striker conducted with the editorial team of the club newspaper “HSV live” and was published on Friday. For the first time, Jatta talks about what he had to go through in this phase. So far, the HSV media department blocked all interview requests; he wasn’t even allowed to talk publicly about his goal in the 4-1 win against Nuremberg three weeks ago.

Now he has put what he has experienced into words for the first time. “My team, the whole club and all fans caught me during this time. I still don’t know how I can ever repay these people for what they gave me,” said the African. After being accused of changing his identity, he was racially abused at the away game in Karlsruhe and was also exploited by the AfD.

“I have become self-employed,” says Jatta

They “did not push him away, but protected and protected me, they stood and stand by my side”, he described the reactions of the association. Sports director Jonas Boldt, coach Dieter Hecking and his teammates would have strengthened him. Boldt “only looked him in the eye once and I knew immediately that he was unconditionally behind me”. And to Hecking, who always set him up despite the theoretically threatening point deductions, he ran straight after his goal to 3-0 against Hannover 96 on September 1. “He knew how hard the time had been for me and he stood by me so unconditionally, so that was the goal for him.”

The coach is “for me and for the team like a father”. Jatta explained how he managed all of this: “If people want something bad for me, then I mustn’t let them in my heart. It has a bad influence on me, it pulls me down and distracts me from my goals.” Jatta played so hard in these difficult weeks that even U21 coach Stefan Kuntz considered whether the winger could be a candidate for the DFB selection.

His life has changed radically since he arrived in Germany as a refugee in 2015, said the professional, who has been with HSV since 2016. “In the meantime I got my driver’s license, I have my own apartment, a friend and became self-employed,” said Jatta. He also learned that he had to be disciplined, “because this is Germany”. He not only tries to “be a good footballer , but above all a good person”. His home is now Hamburg and the HSV. “At home there is where you can find peace. And I found my peace here,” said Jatta, who, despite his contract by 2024, has now become interesting for clubs that have larger goals than HSV at the moment.

At the moment, HSV, the former “Dino”, has only one plan: to return to the first Bundesliga. For this, the second in the table needs, among other things, a victory against the neighbor St. Pauli. That this will not be easy can already be seen from the first leg result, which the larger club lost 0-2 at the Millerntor. Nevertheless, Jatta sees the sporting future of Hamburger SV positively: “I think we are on the right path. We want to keep going, just as I want to continue on my way,” he says. Indeed, HSV has not had so much confidence for a long time.

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