#Article (Archive)

U-17 coach apologises to Gambians

Jan 24, 2011, 2:06 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

Lamin Sambou, head coach of The Gambia national U-17 team, has apologised publicly to the Gambian people for the U-17 team’s dismal performance in the just ended CAF U-17 youth tournament in Rwanda.

Sambou, who guided the team to the Rwanda championship, failed to lead the Baby Scorpions to any meaningful results alongside his two assistants Ebrima Manneh of Interior and Samger’s Coach Jane Joof, as the Baby Scorpions suffered their worst defeats to Congo and Ivory Coast to crash out of the tournament amidst angry reactions from Gambians.

The team’s woeful performance was received with great shock and disappointment by Gambian fans at home, who described the current crop of the U-17 players as the worst ever to appear in the continental youth championship.

The angry fans also called on the GFA to sack the coach for what they described as his lack of managerial skills, in the aftermath of their shocking 4-1 elimination in the hands of Ivory Coast.

 But in his reactions to the team’s disappointing campaign, Sambou, who succeeded the former U-17 coach Tarik Siagy, refuses to take the blame squarely.

He told reporters at yesterday's press conference held at the GFA head office in Kanifing, that the players were to be held responsible for what he referred to as their failure to adhere to his instructions, which led to their embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Ivory Coast in the group stage of the competition.

Sambou was also aware of the fact that he could not escape criticisms as the team’s head coach.

"I accepted all the criticisms levelled against me because I am the head coach but the players have their own share of our failure because they failed to adhere to my instructions," he added.

The issue of the MRI was also put on the table, with many claiming that the team could not perform as expected due to the absence of some key players affected by the MRI.

But Sambou made it categorically clear to journalists that the only key player from the first team affected by the MRI was Lamin Gibba of Wallidan.

Sambou, however, still maintains his statement made in an interview by Abdoulie Bah of West Coast Radio shortly after the team’s exit in Rwanda, that if the team’s disappointing campaign warrants the GFA to sack him, he would go to his farm and continue farming.