Griffins add talent to forward group with BTB Academy striker Bangura

Yusupha Bangura will add talent to the Griffins' forward group for the 2022 Canada West season.
Yusupha Bangura will add talent to the Griffins' forward group for the 2022 Canada West season.

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – After a referral and a series of glowing reviews, MacEwan Griffins men's soccer head coach Adam Loga is confident in what his latest recruit brings to the table.

Yusupha Bangura is joining the Griffins for the 2022 Canada West season, Loga announced Wednesday.

"Both Alis were like 'you've got to sign this guy,' " he explained of current Griffin Ali Yildiz and already-announced 2022 recruit Ali Blaybel, who have played with Bangura at Edmonton-based BTB Soccer Academy. "So, I talked to Jeff Paulus (Bangura's Canada Summer Games coach) and BTB director Kondeh Mansaray, and they said the same thing. 

"It's a similar situation (as others in our recruiting class) where we just don't have enough depth in the nine hole," he added of the central forward spot. "We need to give an opportunity for some of our starters to get a rest instead of playing 180 weekend in and weekend out."

Bangura is similar to others in MacEwan's 2022 recruiting class in that he experienced a gap year after high school, honing his game at the men's level. 

The 6-foot-2 striker will be joining both Yildiz and Blaybel on Team Alberta's Canada Summer Games team in August. 

"To be honest, I haven't seen him much, but he's good enough to play at the Canada Games level, which says a lot about him," said Loga. "He's big and strong, which fits the Canada West men's game well. Talking to Kondeh over at BTB, he just mentioned he's always improving every time he steps on the park. He has pro aspirations."

He figures to get some key offensive minutes as the Griffins continue to solve depth issues that led to them running out of gas and falling to Victoria in overtime in the opening round of the 2021 Canada West playoffs.

"He's expected to come in and provide some depth up front and hopefully give our starters a break," said Loga.

"It pushes everybody. You don't necessarily want players looking over your shoulder, but you want healthy competition. It's going to be that way in practice and hopefully it transfers over into the matches where you give yourself for 60 and someone can come on for that last 30 and close it for us. You need those finishers to take us home and get the three points."