Carayol regrets not playing for Gambia earlier

Jun 25, 2020, 12:45 PM

International football is a big deal for any footballer, and having rejected the opportunity to play for his country in his teens, Mustapha Carayol now admits he regretted not agreeing to play for Gambia sooner.

“I should have played a lot earlier for Gambia in my career, but I was told to build a career first instead of risking injury going to play national team football,” Carayol told esohnasports.

The former Middleborough winger declined several call-ups from former Scorpions coaches Paul Put and the late Peter Bonu Johnson as he preferred to play for England then.

Now with seven caps and three goals to his name, Carayol has witnessed how enthusiastic Gambians are about the beautiful game.

“I have never played in anything like it, not even in Turkey, where the atmosphere is incredible. In Africa, the atmosphere is unreal, the stadium is shaking, overcrowded and it just makes memories,” Muzzy told the Guardian Newspaper.

The 31-year old Carayol made his debut in the Scorpions 1-1 friendly draw against Uganda’s Cranes in Kampala in June 2015 under Swiss boss Raoul Savoy.

A mistake on his passport and injuries delayed his competitive debut for the Gambia. He returned to the Scorpions team for their Total 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mauritania in March 2016 after a nine month hiatus.

Having fallen behind to a Cheikh Moulaye Ahmed goal, Carayol equalized with a remarkable solo effort to make his competitive debut with a goal, but Cheikh Moulaye Ahmed scored late on to hand Mauritania a 2-1 victory in Nouakchott.

His biggest game was against the reigning African champions; Algeria, who were held to a 1-1 draw in Bakau after a delay of over an hour due to overcrowding. Muzzy and his teammates stopped a star-studded Algerian side which had the likes of Man City’s Riyad Mahrez.

 “We played Algeria in a qualifier and ended up drawing 1-1 at home. The game was delayed for an hour and a half as the stadium was overcrowded. They ended up bringing some people down from the stands for safety and letting them sit around the pitch and we played like that. It was literally chills running down your spine hearing everyone cheer and scream. We had to move people out of the way to take a corner. The announcer kept having to say if anybody runs onto the pitch, the game is going to get cancelled."

Carayol said he was speaking to Riyad Mahrez as he was playing on his side [of the pitch] and he was saying: ‘What is this?’ He must have gone back to Man City and been like: ‘You won’t believe the game I played in.

Source-Sohna Sports