By Lamin Drammeh
Nothingham Forest popular winger Mustapha Carayol is a massive addition to the current Scorpions team for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers.
The former Swindon Town starlet has been a fundamental part of the Scorpions preparation for the qualifiers. Carayol, has quickly adopted to the scorpions playing style and delivered moments of individual brilliance. He has fantastically combined with teammates like Modou Barrow, Lamin Jallow and Babucarr Steve Trawally, in the scorpions attacking formation.
He was an outstanding member of scorpions side that recently concluded a week long international tour to Morocco and Central Africa Republic, where they held series of friendly matches in the build-up to the Caf and Fifa preliminary qualifier tournaments.
Pundits believed Carayol is fundamental because the Gambia’s hope of making it to the 2019 Nations cup final for the first time, is based on player’s of his calibre and quality.
It appears they are getting their predictions right when Carayol responded with a brilliant goal in Scorpions 2-1 win against Central Africa Republic a forth night ago. He controlled the ball from a near post after some great piece or art work with highly-rated attackers, Lamin Jallow and Modou Barrow. Within seconds on the clock, the former Middlesbrough star nodded home a fine finish, and secured a deserved 2-1 win for the scorpions on the bound.
That magnificent doubler was Carayol’s first international strike since he scored a spectacular solo goal in a 1-1 draw with Mauritania, at Stade Olympique Stadium in Nouakchott, last year, only a year after making his scorpions debut in a 1-1 draw against Uganda, in 2015.
Carayol’s goals has further boost Gambia’s hope of going into the Africa Nations Cup qualifier match against Benin, in great shape and confidence.
He made-up his mind to feature for the Gambia in 2015, several years after he turned down the initial request to play for his native country.
Gambia’s closest neighbor Senegal, the birth place of Carayol’s mother once pursuaded the industrious attacker to play for the Teranga lions. But he rejected the offer in favor of the Gambia’s scorpions with whom he remain a fan favorite.
Carayol, who holds a British passport, had spells with several English football clubs including Crawley Town, Torquay United, Kettering town, Lincoln City, Brington & Hove Albion, Huddersfield town and Middlesbrough.
He signed his first professional contact with Milton Keynes Don in 2007, after graduating through Swinton Town youth team, and was sent on loan at six different clubs.
Carayol, nicknamed Muzzy, joined Boro from Bristol Rovers in a fee believed to be at the region of £250.000 in 2013.
While at the London club, the 5 fit 11 in attacker found his playing time difficult to come by and eventually became surplus to requirement under former coach Aitor Karanka, who once hailed the contribution of the impressive winger.
He left Boro for Brington & Hove Albion and then on loan at Huddersfield town and Leeds United, as he continue searching for regular playing time.
He has many Scorpions caps under his belt, and will look to cement his place in coach Sang Ndong’s team for the 2019 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers.
The Gambia is drawn in group D of the qualifiers with Tunisia, Benin and Algeria, as the battle to qualify for the continent’s biggest football tournament draws nearer.