1. History in making
For over 56 years, Mother Gambia had worked extremely hard to reach this stage. Thus, let us jealousy safeguard it. History was made, and I am very convinced that Tom Sainfiet Charges will continue to write history in our maiden African Cup of Nations appearance. Our leader Pa Modou Jange threw the ball to Musa Barrow, who smartly took his deadly move, looking diagonal, leaving the Mauritania Midfielders from behind. He placed the ball to our creative Ablie Jallow who controlled it with ambition, headed up, moved forward and found out that the Mauritanian goalkeeper wrongly positioned himself. Thus, he smashed the ball cleverly. It travelled to its final destination and finally landed at the back of the net. That was enough to deliver a win to Mother Gambia in our debut appearance in the African Cup of Nations. This goal has gone into the history books of The Gambia, and every Gambia should be proud of it.
2. Guiding the victory
If you think you don’t have a role to play in our maiden AFCON debut, you are underrating your efforts. It will not be little or minor. It might be what we need to reach the next level or stage. Please know this from now: Every Gambian contribution is needed. The fight should not only rest on the shoulders of the boys. This should be a collective want because the benefits are mutual. We have to guide the victory to the ultimate destination, and we can only achieve that by managing our communications well – our communication style in relation to our coaches, players and the entire delegation. Our interpersonal communication should be positive, encouraging, motivating and uniting. Let us avoid saying ‘I’ and adapt to saying ‘We’, because it is only a team of a nation that wins a trophy, not an individual of nation.
3. Managing our expectations
We had mixed feelings and predictions as to how the boys would play and what the result of our first AFCON game would be. In case you are still contemplating, The Gambia has beaten three times African Nations Cup players, Mauritania, by a goal to nil, courtesy of Germano. Having seen and tasted how our young boys play, I appeal that we manage our expectations, because we are sometimes easily carried away and that is the least thing we need at this time. Let us always be the underdogs. That way, the victory will always come by surprise, in sha Allah. However, let us always remember this: It is our first AFCON with an inexperienced young team, but we are the Scorpions. “If you spend long time in a hole, it is because you have not found a scorpion there.” These are not my words but the words of our Chief Scorpion Fan, His Excellency President Adama Barrow.
4. Stay focused, Gambia Football Federation
This is not only required of The Gambia Football Federation but as the body responsible for the technical preparation our national team, I believe being focused will be reflected or translated in your organs. That is our team manager, the various coaches and players. Undoubtedly, we know that there are some gaps in our Gambian football we have to fill. However, your administration has ushered in our maiden AFCON. Hence, germs cannot take that from you. So, be proud of it and safeguard it jealousy. This is a project, and the journey has just taken off from Limbe, Cameroon, and landing at the ultimate destination requires adequate focus.
5. Continuous role of Government: Ministry of Youth and Sports; National Sports Council
Our Central Government, through its Ministry of Youth and Sports down to the National Sports Council (NSC), are delivering up to expectations, and this should be a continuous process throughout the campaign. The NSC should continuously do need analysis to know what our coaches, players, fans and media personnel may need and provide them ahead. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, in consultation with NSC and GFF, should come up with a performance bonus reward for the national team should we make it to the next stage. Once again, I pray to the Almighty to grant us that. Amen! And consecutively, every stage should be rewarded with a package. This will increase the motivation of the boys more from 100% to 125% hypothetically.
Have you donated? If you haven’t, please do so immediately. You are doing it for Mother Gambia.
Best of luck, Mother Gambia!
By Modou Yusupha Cham
Serrekunda East Sports Development Organization