(Tuesday 15th October 2019 Issue)
The Gambia senior national team has qualified to the next stage of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers which means the technical team led by coach Tom Saintfiet has to work even harder to ensure Gambia’s qualifies to play in the African Cup of Nations finals for the first time.
A lot of resources are needed to prepare for the next stage where they will play against Angola, DR Congo and Gabon. Those countries are situated in Central Africa and are hard to travel to because of expensive tickets fares.
The coach should always consult his technical staff before effecting any substitution that could be costly to the team. Every time he makes substitutions fans disagree with his decision. By now he should have known all players and their abilities. Many a time he makes wrong substitutions. The coach should also always put players in the right positions.
The match between The Gambia and Djibouti was not impressive in the second half following the substitution of one player. It is advised that the coach consults his technical team before effecting substitutions that the general fan base agrees with. The last substitution resulted in the visitors killing the tempo of the game by dictating the pace, which should not be.
Coach Saintfiet is too defensive minded which shouldn’t always be the case when we are playing at home.
The coaching staff should also have a dialogue with players to put away their personal differences to ensure players are always willing to come and play for The Gambia whenever they are called to represent the country for the interest of the nation.
Players playing week in, week out with their respective clubs should also be given consideration over those not playing regularly in their clubs or without clubs when it comes to selection because there are always more fit and competitive.
The main problem of Gambian footballers is to score goals and the coach should work on that area. The players in the 18-man squad should concentrate more and not panic. The Gambia Football Federation executive should also address the issue of playing games at 4pm without delay by discussing with CAF competition committee members to move the game to 5pm as before.
The temperature is always very hot at 4pm with most fans needing to take lunch, travel far distances while others have other health challenges. Even the monetary loses for the GFF from ticket sales is a discomfort.
Traditionally, the host country should always communicate the time for the game to CAF and this should always be taken into consideration.
Our footballers need to be encouraged financially and morally as well as have test games often to gauge their performance.
Finally, the Ministry of Youth and Sports should always be financially supportive to the Gambia Football Federation.
Football should be given its due consideration.
“Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”