By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
The head coach of the senior national football team of the Gambia, Tom Saintfeit has said they cannot change the late arrival of players in camp and the withdrawal of players from the team’s training camp in Dubai over passport and injuries issues.
The Belgian tactician, who guided the Scorpions to the pinnacle of African nation’s Football, AFCON in Cameroon last year, explained that they have to manage with the situation on the ground ahead of the 2023 Ivory Coast AFCON qualifiers against South Sudan and Congo.
“It is a little bit sad that we lost three players in Hamza Barry, Dembo Darboe and Modou Barrow. These are three important players for the team,” he told The Fatou Network.
The players joined the camp piecemeal from different parts of the globe. First in Dubai and then Senegal. About three other players, who are expected to play a part in the qualifies could not even join them in Dubai where the team was expected to have all the needed time to prepare well.
“I would want us to have more days together so that we can have more tactical sessions. But this is out of my control. We have to work like that. We can’t change it. We will do what we can. We are going to make the best use of the situation using what we have”, Tom explained to The Fatu Network.
Withdrawal Of Hamza Barry, Dembo Darboe And Modou Barrow
Many Gambian football fans hailed the inclusion of Hamza Barry on the 25-man list released by the head coach. The midfielder didn’t play a part in Tom Sainfeit’s side in the 2022 AFCON in Cameroon.
Earlier last week, the Gambia Football Federation announced that the Midfielder will not join the team due to Passport issues.
According to the head coach Tom Sainfeit, they were not aware that Hamza will not be allowed to travel until last Thursday morning. He described it as a bit sad characterising Hamza as a very good player.
Dembo Darboe and Modou Barrow, both of whom are attackers also left the camp due to injuries. The duo played for the country in the AFCON in Cameroon.
” Dembo Darboe is injured and Modou Barrow contacted us and told us that he is injured”, Tom told TFN.
Late Arrival Of Players
Tom Sainfiet told The Fatu Network that the late arrival of players is out of his control. He said the late arrival is as a result of the teams that the players are playing for.
James Gomez, AC Horsen’s player of the season, Matar Ceesay, Nuha Marong and Bun Sanneh are expected to join the team in Senegal today when the team arrived from Dubai.
Tom acknowledged that he would prefer to have the players altogether.
Bun Sanneh and Nuha Marong are invited following the withdrawal of Dembo Darboe and Nuha Marong.
Tom also said the other players may join the camp as well.
On Sunday, the Gambia National Football team documented another history by playing a one-all draw against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The draw was the first time the senior national team collected a point against a non-African side. UAE is among the top 6 football nations in Asia and they used the friendly game with the Gambia to prepare for their FIFA World Cup playoff games.
The Gambia will play against South Sudan on Saturday, June 4 in Thies, Senegal before travelling to Congo on the 8th.