Midfielder Mo Sagaf made an immediate impact after putting pen-to-paper on his one-year deal 10 days ago when he came off the bench to bag his first goal for the club at Swindon.
Speaking about his first ever professional deal, he said: “It’s been great here so far. Everyone has been really nice and it’s something I’ve worked really hard for.
“I’ve dreamed about being a professional footballer since I was young, it was always part of my plan. This is like another little step for me and hopefully there’s more coming in future.
“The good thing is that I’ve been around the professional game before, so I know how it is and what’s needed. Everywhere I’ve been has added to my experience and now that I’m here, and training every day, I know I’m in a good place to develop and learn.”
“Obviously there’s a big difference in the quality you see in the players,” he added. “I think you can only learn from that because you know you have to be as good or you don’t fit in with what they need to achieve.
“I knew as soon as I got here that it was a good place. I remember getting a phone call from my agent on the Monday night and he told me that Carlisle had a game the following night. I woke up the next morning, jumped on the train and got up here just after half one in the afternoon.
“The gaffer was waiting to speak to me and I ended up playing some of the game against Tranmere a few hours later. It was a good way to get to know the lads and it all moved on from there.”
With the trial spell that followed with the Blues, he said: “I was training really well so I knew I was giving myself a chance. I concentrated on doing the things I knew I could do best and you then just have to hope that something good comes from it.
“It was a great feeling when the manager sat me down and told me there was an offer. It’s up to me to make it work now and show everybody what I’m about. I’d heard the things the gaffer was saying to the press about me and that meant a lot. All I can do now is pay him back by working as hard as I can.
“Obviously Carlisle is six hours from my home in London, but I’m not the kind of person who gets homesick. The only time I went home from Italy was at Christmas, so I’m used to doing what I have to do.”
And as for what he wants going forward from here, he told us: “I’m still new and, being honest, I’m still finding out how things work. Being on the bench is good because I get to see how they play and I’m learning from it.
“That means when I do come on, like I did at Swindon, I’m ready for it and I can work hard to have an impact. When it comes to what I can bring, I like to score goals. I think I can help to control the game and I have good vision.
“In every game it’s all about winning and I have that mentality, I want three points from every game.”
Looking back at his journey from his birthplace in Southern Somalia to Cumbria, he explained: “I was born in Kismayo, but I grew up in Tanzania. When I was young we moved to Leyton and I started playing football in local teams around there.
“I was picked up by Dagenham United when I was 15 and then I went to Tirana in Italy (Seria B) when I was about 18. That was a very good experience for me. When I came back over here I spent a bit of time with Ipswich when Mick McCarthy took me in there.
“With Braintree I was scoring goals and playing well, and that’s where I built up a lot more confidence. I picked up the player of the month award in April for the league, and that was a good moment for me.
“As far as I’m concerned that was all very good experience but there’s still so much more to learn. It’s all about stepping stones and I just want to keep moving forward and keep getting better. That’s what I’m trying to do every day.”
And we couldn’t let him go without mentioning the ‘Mo Sagaf’ song which sprung from the terraces at Barnsley last Tuesday night.
“I didn’t know I had a song until I heard it at the last game,” he confirmed. “I was amazed! It was good that the fans have done that and hopefully I can pay them back by doing well in the team when I come on.”
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