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Published 03 May 2023 4 min read
England Para Teams

England's Abdou Jobe says Para Lions experience is a 'whole different level'

Written by:

Alec McQuarrie

As the Para Lions look forward to a busy 2023, men's deaf international Abdou Jobe tells us about his journey into the England set up

England men’s deaf forward Abdou Jobe has played in the Deaf Champions League and trained at the highest level of non-League football, but nothing could prepare him for representing his country.

It is never easy for a teenager to step into the England set up, just ask captain Jamie Clarke who became England’s youngest ever deaf player at a World Championships in 2008.

And in the sweltering heat of early summer Crete, EuroDeaf 2019 was a baptism of fire for Jobe, who had only just turned 17.

But the Bromley U23 star took it all in his stride and is now targeting a century of international caps by the time his career draws to a close.

Jobe said: “I was so honoured when I got picked for England. Obviously, it was a whole different level to what my club level was.

“I was overwhelmed to be honest, but also really excited. When I arrived in Crete it was like woah – it blew my mind.
Abdou Jobe is targeting success with the England deaf team in 2023
Abdou Jobe is targeting success with the England deaf team in 2023
“But I learned a lot from it. When I was on the pitch you could see the standard was so different, a much higher level.

“I think I could have done better in terms of my own performances, but I didn’t have a lot of experience obviously. But it changed and made me who I am today.

“I’m really enjoying being part of it and I’m so excited to learn new things.”

The apprentice plumber, who scored a memorable goal in England's 3-0 against Germany in March, has a critical few months coming up with a return to EuroDeaf hosted by Turkey in June before Jobe’s maiden World Championships in Kuala Lumpur in September – the first global meet for seven years.

But Jobe has been playing in the top tier of domestic deaf football for years and is aiming to cement his place in the England first team by the time the squad jet off to Malaysia.

The 21 year old is the only member of his family who was born deaf, and while his father kick-started his football career before returning to the Gambia, his mother has played a central role in his upbringing in south-east London.
03 May 2023 0:34

Deaf football explained

Find out how Abdou and his teammates compete

“I’m really lucky that some of my family can sign,” said Jobe. “Fortunately I can lip read as well. My mum is the most important person in my life.

“She made the effort to learn sign language to communicate with me. My sister signs too.

“My mum is always by my side for any problem. I know that she’s always going to be there for me and she always has been there for me.”

Jobe’s father and eldest sister do not know British Sign Language so communicating at home was a challenge, but that did not stop Jobe senior engaging with his son in traditional dad-and-lad kickabouts.

“I look up to my dad,” said Jobe. “That’s how I started. He just told me to start playing in my back garden and then when my dad went, my mum took me to my school football team and then it went from there.

“I don’t really see my father a lot. He lives in the Gambia with my older sister, but they fully support and encourage me.

“At first, he wanted me to be a businessman, but I told him no, I’m going to do football.”