#Article (Archive)

Gambian footballers shining

Jul 23, 2010, 12:41 PM

Gambian international football players who are plying their trade in most of Europe's top leagues and Major League Soccer in the United States have so far lived up to expectations. The country can now boast of having more than a handful of foreign footballers in international leagues. In the past, it was difficult to have such a state of affairs, and this latest situation could be linked to the recent developments in Gambian football at the junior categories.

Players such as Norwa's Tijan Jaiteh, Ebrima Sohna, MLS stars Sainey and Sanna Nyassi, Amadou Sanyangand Omar Jasseh, with Finnish duo Dawda Bah and Demba Savage, among others, have succeeded in making  the first line up for their respective teams. This is unlike before when Gambia's foreign stars hardly make a first choice selection by clubs.

The most impressive among the lot is Dawda Bah whose HJK Helsinki side won the Finnish 2009/10 league. This gives the Gambian forward the opportunity to contest in the second qualifying round of Europes Champion's League. They beat their second round opponents Ekranas at home on Wednesday to book a third round spot in the qualifiers.If the club continues in their current form, the Gambia international will have the opportunity to play for the first time in the group stages of Europe's most competitive league championship with teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. They are also strongly contesting for a second laurel in a row this year, after laying a six points lead ahead of Demba Savage's FC Honka. Savage and FC Honka qualified for the UEFA Europa League.

The Danish trio Njogu Demba, Ousman Jallow and Paul Jatta are also in top form at their clubs.

Njogu Demba and Danish side Odense were 2009/10 vice- champions in the country's top flight league after finishing at 59 points. Gambian compatriots Ousman Jallow and Paul Jatta's Brondby IF completed third to win a berth in the UEFA Europa League together with Njogu's Odense.

Pa Dembo Touray, Kebba Ceeay's Djurgardens, Amadou Jawo's Elfsborg and Aziz Corr Nyang in the lower league in Sweden are also playing their part in the Swedish Allsvenskan, which recently kicked off.

Dawda Leigh of Kritiona Brix and Banjul-born Muhammed Keita, all in Norway's first division league, and Manchester United star Joshua King, who are yet to feature for the Gambian national side, are also solid players in their respective positions, and could be a big boost for the country's 2014 campaign should they make their services available for the Gambia. The campaign aims at booking the country's first appearance for the Africa Cup of Nations 2012, as well as the FIFA's biggest football showpiece the World Cup 2014.

Abdourahman Dampha and Neuchatel Xamax and Pa Modou Jagne are making their marks in the Swiss Axpo Super League.

With all these recent developments, the future of Gambian football looks bright.