COLLINGWOOD is exploring the prospect of recruiting a Senegalese basketballer who has never played a game of football and is currently based in his home country.
Bassirou Faye, 18, has shot from oblivion and onto the radar of AFL clubs as an athletic ruck option despite being forced to leave Australia due to visa constraints.
The Pies headline several clubs tracking the 202cm hopeful who has recently turned his hand to football with the help of former Richmond and Hawthorn forward Tyrone Vickery.
Faye is listed as part of NAB League club Oakleigh Chargers' squad for 2021 where it is hoped he'll be able to play should his return from Senegal be approved in coming weeks.
Vickery, through a link with Chargers regional manager Jy Bond, took the ruck hopeful under his tutelage with an exhaustive two-month training block over January-February.
It is understood his improvement in that time, coupled with pre-season training sessions at the Chargers, has given clubs the belief he possesses traits to become an AFL ruckman.
The Pies landed forward Mason Cox through the International Rookie Scholarship program in 2014 in the same pathway they're exploring for Faye.
Category B rookies can be signed up to June 30 if taken before the post-season window, with Cox officially joining the Pies in May 2014.
The Pies currently have the maximum of two Category B rookies – Anton Tohill and Tom Wilson – which would require one to be upgraded to the primary list in order for Faye to join as a Category B (Cox has since been upgraded to the primary list).
Should Faye play NAB League before winning a spot on an AFL list, his entitlements as an International/Category B Rookie could be revoked.
However, were he to sign with an AFL club first, he would likely be granted the opportunity to play with the Chargers.
It is a process Geelong Category B rookie Paul Tsapatolis has followed this year to start the season playing for the Western Jets. Melbourne's Austin Bradtke was also given licence to play for Sandringham Dragons in 2019.
Any move would require AFL approval.
Faye moved to Australia in search of a basketball career but has instead switched his sights to football.
Wearing goggles – reminiscent of NBA champion Horace Grant – he also tested at the NAB League testing day in early March alongside draft prospects including prospective Oakleigh Chargers teammate and Pies father-son-in-waiting Nick Daicos.
Faye ran a sub-three-second 20m sprint and recorded an 84cm running vertical jump after testers were forced to increase the height limit to accommodate his jump.
The Pies hold a strong link to the Chargers with eight current players previously calling Oakleigh home – Josh Daicos, Jordan De Goey, Isaac Quaynor, Trent Bianco, Finlay Macrae, Will Kelly, Reef McInnes and Darcy Moore.