Sierra Leone’s Mohamed Buya Turay has no qualms about playing China

Sierra Leone international Mohamed Buya Turay says he has no qualms about playing in China so soon after the country made major improvements in containing coronavirus.

The 25-year-old’s comments come after he joined Chinese Super league side Hebei CFFC on a three-and-a-half-year deal from Belgian side Sint-Truidense three weeks ago.

The striker, who is yet to feature for Hebei, has not played competitive football since winning the 2019 Swedish league with Djurgardens in early November.

“We are protected and safe as we’re observing the right procedures to avoid being infected by Covid-19,” he told BBC Sport Africa.

“We’re doing right things to protect every one. I know about all the precautionary measures taken by my club, and I’ll ensure that I observe all the measures for me and everyone to be safe.

“I believe we are safer than the outsiders.”

Chinese football has been hit hard by the outbreak with the super league only resuming last month after five month delay due to the spread of Covid-19 which emerged from China late last year.

Buya Turay also insists that not understanding how to read or speak Chinese is not an issue for him.

“I never go to places or clubs to think about languages, signs on roads and stadiums,” he explained.

“I’m going to a club with a focus, dedication and motivation to do the best for myself and club.

“There are Sierra Leonean players who have played in China and did well regardless of the language.

Sierra Leone’s Mohamed Buya Turay was the top scorer in Sweden as he helped Djurgรฅrdens win the title in 2019

“It’s good to be following the footsteps of these great Sierra Leonean players and mentioning my name alongside these players makes me feel honoured and proud, and motivates me to do more.”

He is the fifth Sierra Leonean international to play in China outfit after former Inter Milan and Monaco striker Mohamed Kallon, ex-Celtic forward Mohamed Bangura, former German Bundlesliga defender Gibril Sankoh and Mamadou Alphajor Bah who died in September 2016.

Buya Turay will look to find the form that saw him help Djurgardens win the Swedish title in 2019, while he was on loan with them from Sint-Truidense after a disappointing stay in Belgium.

As well as winning the first silverware of his career he also finished as the league’s top scorer with 15 goals.

The forward then returned to Sint-Truidense in December last year, but was desperate to leave the Belgian outfit.

He only featured for 163 minutes in six appearances in his spell in Belgium, which began in August 2018 on a three-year deal for what was a club-record fee from another Swedish club Dalkurd FF.

He admitted he would have preferred to stay in Europe, but decided to choose China because he was desperate to quit Sint-Truidense.

“I’m very happy to leave Saint-Truidense,” he added.

“Staying in Europe was my main aim, but not at Sint-Truidense because of what i went throughout in the club 2018.

“There was no motivation or courage to be able to stay there and play. So I was looking for any chance to move out.

“My target in China is to do my best for my club and see what happens next.”

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