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Paul Put reveals difficulty in scouting more foreign-based players

Sep 14, 2011, 3:26 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

The embattled Scorpions coach Paul Put has told the Gambian media that one of the biggest problems he is facing is scouting for more foreign-based players for the senior national team.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference organized by the Gambia Football Association on the team’s recent loss away to Namibia in the African Nations Cup qualifiers on Monday, the Belgian tactician said, “I can only monitor the progress of my players on the internet, which is not enough.

“If I cannot see the players in a real game situation in their respective leagues, it would make my job difficult”, said Paul Put who used the platform to urge the Gambia government to give him the opportunity to go and see more foreign-based players in action in a bid to invite them to the national team.

“If the government can give me the opportunity to go around to scout more Gambian players playing abroad, it would make my job easier”, said Paul Put who has failed in his second attempt to lead the Scorpions to their first-ever African Nations Cup finals much to the dismay of a teaming number of Gambian soccer fans, who are becoming increasingly frustrated by the Scorpions’ lack of Nations Cup appearance.

The Belgium-born football tactician who described the Scorpion’s defeat to Namibia as the worst for his star-studded side, since taking up the role as the team’s head coach, was referring to the fact that his efforts and plans of travelling to Europe in search more foreign-based stars like Makumba Kangi and Josua King never came through.

This is due to what football authorities called financial constraints that continue to take their toll on the progress of the country’s football in all categories, and had frustrated the national team’s chances of making an impact in their respective outings over the years.

This has also led to a patchy performance by the Gambia National U-17 team that lost their African U-17 championship glory, having conquered the continental youth football in 2005 and 2009 in Banjul and Algiers.

However, the baby scorpions have failed in their attempt to replicate the same success at the youth stage, after they bowed out of the eight-nation cadet tournament in the group stages of the last campaign held in Rwanda.

Their horrible showing in Rwanda was followed by another dismal display by the Gambia National U-20  team, who could not even manage to win a single game during the CAF African U-20 youth championship in Johannesburg, South Africa, and instead returned home unsuccessful.

After the U-17 and U-20 disappointing campaigns in Rwanda and South Africa respectively, all attention was paid to the senior national team, who remained the country’s sole representative in any continental competition.

This followed an unfortunate withdrawal of the U-23 national team that was chosen to represent the country in the 2012 London Olympic Games owing to financial problems of the GFA.

The Scorpions 1-nil defeat at the expense of Namibia in Windhoek means coach Paul Put and his charges are ever inching closer to a disastrous exit from the Nations Cup qualification round.

Even a massive win against Burkina Faso in Banjul next month might not be enough to see The Gambia through to the championship in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea next year.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports, it would be recalled, launched a fund-raising committee (called Gambia for Gold) tasked with the responsibility of raising the needed funds for the participation of all the categories of the Gambia’s national teams in their respective competitions.

The Gambia for Gold’s ultimate aim was to tackle the issue of financial difficulties hampering the progress of Gambian football.

However, the issue of financial incapacity by the Gambia Football Association remained unchanged with many fanatic followers of Gambian football believing that the players are not financially motivated enough, despite several efforts to remedy their financial situation.

It is so obvious that football needs adequate preparation and enough funds to enable it move to the highest desirable standard, which is definitely the stumbling block in the progress or development of Gambian football all this point in time.

It is high time that individual interest is put aside for national football’s development.

This will help the football authorities greatly in their quest to tackle the financial problems hampering the development of Gambian football.