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Sunday, June 20, 2021

GAMBIA SHOCKS MOROCCO AND GUINEA ….the lessons from Marrakesh

By Lamin Cham

It may have come too late for the dreams and desire of many Gambian fans but two straight wins by Gambia in Morocco, over AFCON bound teams have served as a welcoming inspiration for Coach Tom Saintfiet as he restarts his mission to take Gambia to her first CAN.

Even in the absence of the much talked about players, highly rated to be assets to the team-but absent for one reason or the other, Saintfiet blended a few experienced players with youthful exuberant players to leave an impression in the football map albeit, in friendly matches.

Ebrima Sohna and Musa Barrow scored to beat Guinea and Morocco respectively and end a successful camping in Morocco for the Scorpions.

How Gambians wish this was real business- a CAN qualifier or tournament proper.
In any case beating Guinea and Morocco in the space of five days is a remarkable achievement, especially because any win is as rewarding to any team, whether you are going to the continental stage or to drink Attaya in Bakau.

So by all account the Gambia has taken glory and respect in the last few days for which we are very grateful to the coach and the players.

As the boys scatter for work and holiday, the country, and especially the technicians must draw good lessons from the new found hope that nothing is beyond our reach if the right attitude and devotion is given to any assignment.

However good results are not enough to determine the quality of a team. Often the lessons from the manner the results was achieved, the total and combined performance of the team, in passing, controlling and other things are more beneficial to the future of the team than the results achieved on the night.

I am sure Tom Sainfiet will not lose sight of the lows of the team in both encounters in his rebuilding.

In the beginning Tom Saintfiet impressed me as a coach who is capable of taking responsibilities of his decisions no matter how unpopular they may seem to the public. That is the type of strong character required to deal with a rowdy an emotional activity like football where everyone can claim to be an authority.

However, to succeed, Saintfiet has to be more vigilant and resistant to any attempt to influence him- from any quarters when it comes to his work in building and selecting the national team.

It is difficult to think, even illogical, to overlook players at the peak of their form and stick to it just because you have tried them before with not much gains.

There has to be flexibility and patience and the sooner we get that right the better we are a placed to go higher.

The pain of missing out of the CAN2019 is hurting giving that it was not because we met better teams but we had the momentum to change our destiny in the qualifiers against Togo in Lome and Banjul and blew it.

Anyway, this is not the time to mourn but to celebrate. Bravo, The Gallant Scorpions of the Gambia.

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