Jul 10, 2014, 9:17 AM
Supporters Also Have a Job to Do
The weekend's encounter at Independence Stadium between The Gambia and Senegal in the on-going qualifiers for the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations has visibly left all Gambians in a resigned mood. The result could however have been one of thrill and jubilation.
Yes, certainly the boys gave us their best and played very good soccer against their very experienced and capable rivals. As a team they showed great resolve and cohesion, even despite their few days' preparation. Man for man, the players were equally sound and effective. A good example is the spectacular marking of the Senegalese captain, Elhajj Diouf by Tijan Jaiteh (T-Boy). Though he didn't produce the desired goal, Njogu Demba was also very impressive and his unfruitful efforts just showed that the goalkeeper, Tony Sylva, was on high form. Coach Paul Put and his assistants must also be commended for producing a great selection and a very good team performance despite the lack of adequate preparation time.
On the whole if there was any weakness on the day, it must have been from the pavillions. That is where The Gambia failed to secure the much deserved victory on Sunday. There would have been a big difference if the supporters had supported loudly and resoundingly throughout the match. But we were lukewarm in our support, as though we were watching a concert and not a football match. We only shouted at moments of the highest excitement. Support should be sound and overwhelming to fire up the team and dampen the opposition. That is the importance and advantage of having 'Home' games. The fans have an active contribution to make especially in Home games. The last 15 minutes should have been a 'do-or-die' affair. The whole stadium should have been on their feet drumming support and demanding that winning goal. Then the boys would have got the zeal and responded with a surprising attack, and they would have been able to produce that essential goal, especially at a time when the opposition were a man down and looking completely exhausted.
Unfortunately that opportunity was not seized. Therefore it is yet one more lesson for Gambia to learn. The game is not to be left to the coach and the players alone. The supporters have to do a job too, support.
Let us take this opportunity to thank Africell for their valuable financial contribution to the Scorpions especially for paying salaries of the head coach, Paul Put. It is hoped that more prominent business enterprises will also come out and make their name in sports promotion in this country.