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Meles' disappointing campaign surprises coach Sambou

Jan 25, 2011, 12:50 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

The head coach of The Gambia national U-17 team has continued to cast blame on his players for the team's failure to shine during the just ended CAF U-17 youth championship in Rwanda.

Coach Lamin Sambou blamed poor pitch and bad weather conditions for the team's woeful performance against Congo, as they conceded 3-nil to Congo in their opening game of the tournament.

Coach Sambou led the team to a narrow 1-nil win over Mali without any problem but pointed his fingers at the players for what he claimed their failure to adhere to his instructions following the boys' dismal performance against Ivory Coast in the final group match.

Sambou said he was also disappointed with U-17 marksman Buba Jallow, "aka" Meles, whose poor performance in the tournament came as a surprise to him and his technical staff.

Speaking to journalists at Sunday’s press conference at the GFA head office in Kanifing, Sambou said Buba Jallow's disappointing campaign in Rwanda, came to him as a surprise, noting that a player of Meles' quality, who have been scoring goals for the past eight months, could have done better in Rwanda.

"Actually, I don’t know what was the problem that led to his disappointing performance in Rwanda, because we expected a lot from a player who has been a regular scorer for the team in the past eight months," he said of his striker.

He was however responding to a question raised by one of the journalists as to what may have led to Meles' poor performance in Rwanda.

One man who was equally dissatisfied with Meles' performance in Rwanda was the GFA’s technical director, Kebba Masaneh Ceesay, who told journalists that several efforts were made to get Meles back to the scoring form but were all futile.

"It was a big disappointment to see Meles playing the entire tournament without scoring a single goal even though he was given enough playing time to prove his worth. But I think he is the best person to give us an answer to that question," Ceesay said.

Sambou also used the occasion to distance himself from his earlier statement that this U-17 team "is the best" team the country has ever produced.

He said: "A journalist told me that this is the best U-17 team The Gambia has ever produced because of the involvement of the likes of Jane Joof and Ebrima Manneh."

"I responded by saying yes this is the best U-17 team ever to be produced by The Gambia because they have been winning during the qualifiers and eventually progressed to the championship in Rwanda."

Meles has proven to be an integral part of the successes registered by both the Gambia national U-17 and U-20 teams over the period, as his outstanding contribution is considered the driving force behind the team's successes during a crucial qualifying campaign.

But he struggled to maintain his impressive scoring form during the Rwanda campaign and eventually returned home without scoring a goal, although he netted four out of six goals scored by the U-17 team during the qualifiers.