May 29, 2014, 10:26 AM
Ensa Sambou, head coach of Brikama United, says he was extremely delighted at guiding the West Coast Region outfit (Brikama United) to their first-ever GFA Division one league title after a 1-nil defeat against relegation battlers Young Africans at the KG5 Mini-stadium in Banjul on Monday.
Sambou, who has adapted to life in the country’s top-flight football since replacing former coach Lang Kah, led Brikama United to an unprecedented title having continued to occupy the top spot from the beginning to the end of what was said to be a competitive league campaign.
Speaking to reporters shortly after celebrating a deserved victory over Young Africans, Sambou said: “I am very happy because this victory means we have won the league for the first time in the history of West Coast Region.
“This was a big challenge for me as a young coach to take up the responsibility of coaching Brikama United but we really deserved the title.”
He added: “We prepared for this game knowing well that it will see us winning the title with the maximum points. We decided to go to camp since Saturday just to make sure we win this game against Young Africans. The mood at the camp was fine because the players were relaxed knowing that this was a very important game for them.
“My boys knew the importance of this game; they knew if we collected the three points in the game the race was automatically over. We spoke to the management to camp the players since Saturday and it has paid dividend.”
Sambou added that the mood of the boys at camp did show them that they were going to win the game.
“The secret behind Brikama United’s success is the fact that the entire community was behind the team as a community-based football club,” he reasoned. “This is a community team and every citizen of West Coast Region, especially in Brikama, is behind the team.
“If you look at the big crowd that follow Brikama United, you get to believe that they are a team with fanatic followers and it contributed a lot to our success.”
While applauding the technical staff for being very helpful and cooperative in making their job easy, coach Sambou said: “The success of Brikama United is attributed to the huge fan base, the contribution of a dedicated technical staff, their mental strength and focus.”
His players are young and want to make names for themselves in Gambian football, the triumphant coach also said, adding that they have proven critics wrong who used to say Brikama United’s impressive performance was due to the good number of home games they had in the fixtures during the first round.
Sambou was however thankful to his players for proving critics wrong while heaping praises on the fans for what “their tireless support” to the team throughout the intensive campaign en route to a championship glory.
“We played four games outside Brikama in the first round, won 3 and drew 1; that shows you that our statistics playing outside Brikama is good,” he argued, adding: “If we play at home we play with a lot of pressure which is not good for these young players.
“Brikama United is the most consistent team this season in the Gambia Football Association first division league looking at the number of games we won.”
The elated coach added that they had been at the top of the league table since the third week of the league, which according to him, had never happened in Gambian football for a long time describing it as a great achievement for the whole of West Coast Region.
“I want to thank everybody that has contributed to this success in one way or the other and this achievement will give us a great momentum to prepare well for the FA Cup,” he said.
“We are going all out for the FA Cup because it will not tell well as league champions if we do not do well.”
Sambou noted: “We have already talked about the Caf Champions league with the executive of the team during the camp on Saturday and that is what we are preparing for now and our aim is to go there and perform well.”
Modou Jallow, Captain of Brikama United, said he was delighted that his team has won the league. The skipper of the country’s best team also thanked everyone that has contributed to the success of the team in one way of the other.
“It was a normal game and we prepared for it like ay other game,” he said, adding that there was no pressure on them going into the Young Africans game.
“We were here for the purpose of fair play to take the game to our standard,” he said, adding: “The success of the team is based on the hard work and commitment of the players, the support of the committee, the technical staff, the board and everybody at home and those behind us here (the fans).”
Concluding, the captain of the inspirational Brikama United said: “We promised them that we were going to do it and we have done it for them.”