By Alagie- Saidy Barrow
I was given a ticket to go and watch the game between our dear Gambia and the DR Congo. I must commend the Football authorities for the huge improvement in security and organization. I got to the stadium and was in my seat within 15 minutes of my arrival. There was much more orderliness in entering the stadium and going up to the stands despite the large crowd. Well done to the organizers.
I think the team did well and gave it their all. I am no football expert but apparently, despite our lack of progress in football, we have one too many football experts in The Gambia. You can find them everywhere and they are usually loud and boisterous. And I am not sure how the actual players cope with all the expertise but they are better men than I am. The insults I heard being heaped on the players, the adjectives used against our own brothers are on another level. At some point, I had to ask someone if he was a supporter or if he knew some of the players he was going after! You know in The Gambia when you hear someone criticizing another, it is always a good idea to see if the one doing the criticizing is incubating some grudge!
I don’t think those of us who go to watch these games desire a win more than the young men that chose to represent our nation. As much as we may be frustrated with them, I don’t think our frustrations exceed the frustration of the players themselves. It is their reputation and honor on the line. We get to say “these people are useless”, “these people are nothing”, and call them all kinds of names! Yet, game after game, they answer to the call and show up. I cringe when I hear our experts on football describe some of these players and what they should have done. I am no expert but I saw great effort from the players. The defense, the midfield players, the forward line all led by the indefatigable Captain Pa Modou Jagne gave it their all in my opinion. I saw passion in the coaching staff. I saw how the coach was made to wear a green vest atop his white shirt and his effort in avoiding the wrath of the referee. I saw him gesticulating on the sidelines and talking to his players at every given opportunity.
If we cannot support them and stand with them even when they go behind, surely we should not be insulting their mothers and calling them all sorts of names as if we care about winning more than they do. No one represents their country and chooses to let the whole nation down. Given how we have not made much progress, I think it is actually brave of them to represent The Gambia. I am a grateful citizen and a proud one at that. Win or lose, they are my team and I will stand by them through the ups and downs. Onwards and upwards! Go Scorpions!