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Gambian football after Paul Put - way forward

Nov 2, 2011, 1:13 PM

Now that the coach of the country’s senior football team has been fired, the question many are asking is - what would be the next steps in order to move Gambian football forward?

We believe that the issue of having a very good coach requires a lot of things to be in place, first and foremost.

It is evident that we have a lot of qualified Gambians who can now take over as coaches for our various national football teams, from the senior team all the way down to the Under 17 side.

Taking a cue from what we see happening in some of our neighboring countries, it is our conviction that these Gambians should be given a chance, at this crucial moment in our football.

And, indeed, this is their chance to take over, and we must give them all the support, facilities and incentives to succeed, come the start of the next qualifying rounds for the Cup of Nations.

However, having said that, we want to sound a word of caution.

Our local coaches must be able to rise above tendencies such as favouritism, nepotism and other manifestation of bias in selecting players for the national team.

This requires and calls for professionalism, which we want to believe is not lacking in our local coaches.

One thing we expect our coaches to do, for instance, is that they would go around the country to witness the zonal matches, and to scout for the talented players who could join the various squads for the national football teams.

Our coaches should be given enough resources to organize more friendly international matches, when the need arises.

They should also work with assistants, who share a common vision for moving Gambian football to higher heights.

In any case, the issue of who serves as coach for the Scorpions, post the last qualifying rounds, is now behind us, after the Sports ministry’s decision to sack Coach Paul Put, announced on Monday.

The fact is that coaches, the world over, are contracted to take their team to a certain level and, if they failed to do so, they are usually asked to leave.

It is heartening to see that Gambians, from the level of the government all the way down to the man in the street, have not allowed sentiments to cloud their judgment, and sway them in making such a crucial, and a very sensible decision, though belatedly.

Indeed, it is quite common for coaches to be asked to deliver or go!

Moreover, paying huge sums of money to coaches, and continuing to retain them in service, at a time when there is nothing more for them to do, would be a waste of precious resources which our small nation does not actually have.

To claim that Paul Put should be allowed to stay, even after he has not achieved the desired goals, when our other national coaches have not been spared the big stick, does not make any sense.

Definitely, it is good to know that maturity and realism have prevailed in this matter.

That Paul Put himself fully understands why he has to leave is also reassuring.

He definitely failed to meet the expectations of Gambians, as per the contract he signed with our government, in qualifying the national football team for the African Nations Cup.

Meanwhile, we wish to join those who have commended Coach Paul Put for his efforts and achievements as coach of the Scorpions over the years.

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