By Preeteesh Peetabh Singh
“Come on man, I don’t want you to put that in, people will start calling me names! Ah well, ok, I’ll tell you one of my secret locker room names; Salamander.” said Salissou Abdoulkader with his sly and mischievous smile.
Star basketball player of the George Brown College (GBC) Huskies, Abdoulkader has places to go and dreams to fulfill in his life.
Abdoulkader spent most of his childhood in Niger, Africa. When he came to Canada at the age of 11, he did not know English. He started off his education from a French school in Ontario named École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé. It was in high school that he accidently laid the foundation of basketball in his career when his friends took him for a tryout.
“I was not into basketball, or any kind of sports. I liked wrestling.”
After the tryout he started following the game, and liking it. He started getting better, practicing harder, running better and shooting better. People started noticing him. He eventually ended up playing for his school team, which was the only team that won the French tournament in Ontario at that time. He was also the MVP for three years in school.
Abdoulkader came to GBC in 2009 for a course in electromechanical engineering. It turned out to be a bad decision. “I didn’t want to do it but my dad asked me to take it, so I did.” He switched over to general arts and science the following year and then finally got into hotel management in 2011.
He now plans to own a hotel and run it.
Showing an example of his determination, he says, “If you work hard for something that you really want, eventually it’s going to come to you.” He aims to be competitive in the hotel business by going one step further than his competitors in every possible aspect.
Abdoulkader hangs around mostly with his Huskies teammates. “Sometimes when we go to clubs, we buy a couple of beer, dance, jump around, and have fun. Basically we like to get attention”, he says with his wicked grin.
Other than getting attention he likes playing video games, driving around, eating out and reading books about money and finance. Recent read book being 48 Laws of Power. He works part-time for the GBC athletics as a supervisor.
Shan Wilson, one of Abdoulkader’s co-workers at GBC says, “He is a very nice person. Always looks out for the best interest of others. He helps his teammates both on and off the field.” While his friend Terril
Murray says that they can always count on him.
The 22 year old has his goals set. He reveals his plan of action. “After graduating from GBC I might as well go to Memorial University of Newfoundland for a year or two, to hone my basketball skills at university level.” He intends to play in Europe in a few years at lower pro or semi pro level.
“I am not the best, but I can certainly play some basketball. I have to build my way up gradually, and I believe that can be achieved by playing overseas.”
He finally wishes to settle in South Africa, with a hotel business, although basketball remains his first preference any day.
In his message to young budding basketball players, he keeps is simple just like his personality, “Listen to your coach and have fun.”