Feb 16, 2009, 6:35 AM
The head coach of Bakau United, Kebba Touray, has said he has no fear for or doubt over The Gambia making it in its group fixture drawn on Tuesday in Tripoli, Libya, for the 2011 African U-20 youth championship in Libya.
The Bakau United coach Kebba Touray cited the performance of the U20 team players during the qualifiers when they beat Ivory Coast in both legs.
Gambian football is moving in the right direction looking at the number of local players who helped the team to qualify for the tournament, he says.
He called on the players to continue the hard work, noting that Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, who are paired with The Gambia in Group B are just names.
“We need to encourage the players as the players need to huddle from the Scandinavian leagues to the major leagues in Europe,” he said, adding that the players should be supported by “our local coaches”.
Touray says he believes this is the right time for Gambian coaches to be given the chance to coach the national teams, citing an example with Peter Bonu Johnson, who led the Gambia U-20 team to the 2007 African U-20 Youth Championship in Congo, Brazzaville, where they won a bronze medal and went ahead to qualify to the FIFA World Cup in Canada but were eliminated by Austria in the second round.
“The only thing Gambian coaches need is support and trust; they should be given the mandate to coach our national teams,” he said.
“I don’t believe in group of death; I believe in the players and I am sure they can do it. I don’t see any team that can stop them in the tournament.”
He also took time to speak about the final 18-man squad of the U-17 team saying: “We have to believe in one thing: the Gambian players have seen the vision in football and every parent has seen the benefit of the game, so I have no fear that the final 18-man squad selected can do very well in the tournament.”