Jan 7, 2011, 12:52 PM
Speaking at a media conference shortly after the Gambia’s 1-nil home defeat to Cameroon at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, Savoy said he was surprised by the attitude of Cameroon looking at the number of experienced players the team has compared to the Gambia’s squad.
“Cameroon came to defend and it surprised me that a big team like them will defend against the Gambia.They were only waiting and it was tough for us to find solution,” he said.“We did well in the first half but I was quite surprised by the attitude of the Cameroon players.”
Coach Savoy claimed that The Gambia played “far better” than Cameroon but were just unlucky not to find the back of the net.
“We did better than Cameroon and have to be proud of that as the Gambian team is young,” he said while acknowledging that his side made a mistake which immediately cost the team.
“Just one mistake caused us and we have made it clear to the players this morning (Sunday morning) that you do not make mistakes against big teams because they will punish you immediately and that was what happened,” he said.
The optimistic coach said if the Gambia can repeat the display against Cameroon in the next month’s World Cup first round qualifiers against Namibia, then Namibia will be dumped out of the competition.
The boys only have to be confident and keep working hard, he said while urging the fans to look ahead to the next game.
Savoy said his only request is for the Gambia to have a killer striker in front of the net who can score the required goals for the country.
“We have young strikers who need more experience,” the Swiss tactician said, calling on overseas Gambian players “who are refusing to player for the Gambia” to come forward and help the country.
“They have to take responsibility and come and help the young players to score because as it is now, when our strikers come against players playing the Champions League, they find it difficult because they lack experience,” he explained.
“Pa Amat Dibba and Bubacarr Trawally both did well but they are young strikers. We need experienced strikers like Ousman Jallow, Momodou Ceesay, Kekuta Manneh and I hope they would turn up for our next game. I selected four good strikers who are scoring goals for their clubs every week but they said they did not want to come. I will need someone from the top to intervene and convince the players to come and player for their country,” he added.
Coach Savoy refused to blame Pa Modou Jagne for the error that resulted in the goal, saying they lose as a team.
For him, the boys “did very well” and he is proud to be heading the team as coach.
He noted that it will now be tough for the Gambia to qualify because Cameroon have already collected 6 points, Mauritania 3, Gambia and South Africa each with a point.
“We are lucky South Africa and Cameroon have to play against each other because if South Africa win it will still be open but in the event Cameroon win it is almost over for the Gambia, South Africa and Mauritania. For now, the group is still a bit open,” the coach said.
Cameroon Coach Voulga Finke described the game as difficult, saying the support from Gambian fans was superb at the stadium.
“It was a hard job for my players because the Gambian team were aggressive and also put up a good fighting spirit,” he said. “The Gambian game we saw against South Africa was a confirmation that the Gambia have a good side; the team is just unlucky not to get a goal here.”
Coach Finke said The Gambia has a team that can compete at the top level and to win against any team.
He congratulated his team for collecting 6 points from two games.
“Cameroon a few years ago and now are different.For the past 10 years Eto’o has been their best player but they made a cut and are building up a new team,” the Cameroon’s coach said.
After the 2010 World Cup, the Cameroon team was in a “very difficult time” but step by step, they are building up.At the moment, the team features many young players between 19 and 27 years.
Journalists, football fans express disappointment with GFF
Sports journalists from both the print and electronic media houses and hundreds of football fans have expressed disappointment with the Gambia Football Federation for the way and manner they handled the affairs of the Gambia-Cameroon match yesterday.
Hundreds of supporters were denied entry at the stadium to watch the game by security officers as the stadium was full to capacity.
The angry fans expressed disappointment with the federation for selling more tickets than the number the stadium can accommodate.
Journalists were also disappointed with the GFF for selling the media section and exposing journalists to rain and cold.