TIGERS: Omar and out for Joof

Legend: Omar Joof has been praised highly by John Chand and Shaun Keeble (below) ahead of his final weeked as a Tigers player.
Legend: Omar Joof has been praised highly by John Chand and Shaun Keeble (below) ahead of his final weeked as a Tigers player.
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THE career of one of Holbeach United’s most popular players will come to an end over the Easter period.

Club captain Omar Joof is hanging up his boots after eight seasons with the Tigers – and the club are hoping to send him off in style.

The Gambian midfielder will pull on the yellow and black stripes for the final time at Carter’s Park on Saturday, as Holbeach meet Yaxley for the second time in seven days.

He then concludes a cracking Non-League career with a glamour trip to high-flying King’s Lynn Town on Monday (3pm).

Current Tigers boss John Chand is urging anybody who has watched ‘OJ’ over the years to come down and pay homage to his skipper.

He said: “OJ has been a model player for me. He’s a great motivator and an all-round nice guy.

“He’s Holbeach through and through and will leave a bit of a legacy at the club.

“We’ve known for a while that he’s retiring, he was anxious that it didn’t affect our plans for next season.

“I urge anyone who has supported Holbeach over the years to come down and see him off.”

Joof’s love affair with the Tigers started in 2003, as then boss Shaun Keeble snapped him up after a series of eye-catching displays for Moulton Harrox and Long Sutton Athletic.

Initially signed as a striker, he ended up playing the majority of his UCL Premier Division games as a more defensive midfielder.

Along with the likes of Matt Warfield, Dean Elston and Jonny Allen, Keeble – who has no plans to call time on his own Holbeach career just yet – rates Joof as a club legend.

He said: “He’s one of those players that always plays well and puts in a shift. Not everybody notices that kind of player, but it’s a crucial part of any team.

“I’d say he’s also one of the most committed and loyal players I’ve ever managed or played with.

“He must have played in about 300 games, which is a real achievement.

“I’m still aiming to play on next season though. I’ve got 300 goals in my sights!”

The retiring Joof is a certain starter for the final two games of the Tigers’ campaign, but Chand has something of a goalkeeper headache.

Regular number one Ricky Lovelace is unavailable on Saturday due to the start of the cricket season. The Holbeach supremo is yet to decide on who will replace him.

Keeble is also unavailable for both games due to suspension – meaning he’ll miss out on a return to former team Lynn on Monday.

Victory over Yaxley on Saturday will secure at least 15th place in the standings, which will mark a decent return for Chand’s men.

And the Holbeach manager is promising to go on the offensive in the final two games – making for an exciting climax to his first season at the helm.