Coach Saintfiet hopes to count on Bakery Jatta against Chad in AFCON qualifiers  

Mar 10, 2022, 2:59 PM

Scorpions coach Tom Saintfiet has told Gambia Football Federation (GFF) media that he has spoken to Bakery Jatta’s agent in an attempt to make him available for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations preliminary qualifiers against Chad.

This came following a landmark ruling by a district court in Hamburg that dismissed the case against the Gambian of identity fraud for lack of sufficient evidence.

The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finalists will first play to Chad on 23rd March in Yaoundé before the Scorpions host them in the return fixture in Agadir on 29th with both sides looking for a place in the group stages of Code D’ Ivoire 2023 qualifiers.

“I’m aware of the court’s decision and this morning I spoke to his agent about his availability for the games against Chad but the invitation had to be sent earlier so I’m waiting for a call from his agent.”

In theory we had to do the invitation 15 days before the camp starts but hopefully tonight, I’ll know more from the agent,” Saintfiet told www.gambiaff.org.

The court said there’s no “overriding probability” that Jatta deceived about his identity after arriving in Germany in 2015, representing a major victory for the player after a painful two-and-a-half-year battle to prove his innocence when German newspaper, Bild first made the allegations in August 2019.

“The district court of Hamburg-Altona has rejected the opening of the main proceedings because, based on the available investigation results, it does not see sufficient suspicion against the accused,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office read.

Jatta’s lawyer Thomas Bliwier told Bild newspaper that the court’s decision has finally determined that there’s no suspicion against his client and thus no reason for further investigations: “The public prosecutor’s office could not show that Mr. Jatta deceived,” he said.

In quotes reported by the Bild from the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper, the district court stated in its nine-page decision that:

“There is no other evidence that could enable the accused to be convicted.

 The order of follow-up investigations is not necessary.”

His Bundesliga 2 club, Hamburg, who had stood with their player throughout this period welcomed the news and expressed optimism that the case will finally close to allow Jatta concentrate on his career rather than off field matters.

“We have of course taken the court’s decision positively. We hope that this file is now finally closed,” Hamburg’s Sports Director Jonas Boldt was quoted on the club’s Twitter handle.

 “Baka is and will remain a fully integrated fellow human being for us and can hopefully continue his good overall development as our player.”

As the club seeks a return to the top flight, the 23-year-old is again playing a central role in that promotion chase by playing in all of the club’s 25 matches this campaign, scoring three times.

 He is currently in the form of his life with the Gambian the only real winger in top condition available for Tim Walter.

Source: GFF