Following the unexpected delay to their travel plans Monday, there have emerged growing concern that The Gambia national team would not have adequate preparations ahead of tomorrow’s must-win encounter against Angola.
The GFF on Sunday announced on Facebook that the team was due to arrive on Monday night but it turned out that the special flight did not get access to Brussels International Airport on that day reportedly because of delay in landing clearance. The team arrived last night and will have only this morning and evening to train and if possible tomorrow morning before taking on Angola.
The arrival of the team has drawn sharp criticisms from the public using social media, complaining that the match is too important for shoddy preparations.
At the height of the debate yesterday, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) explained on its Facebook page that the entire arrangement of the flight was conducted by the Gambia government, a comment that many fans criticised for shifting blame. The post was put down soon after.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Badjie yesterday told The Standard that the delay was caused by lateness in getting clearance for the plane to land and pick the boys from Brussels.” The plane originated from Poland and needed clearance to land in Brussels which could not be obtained over the weekend,” he said.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the GFF has told The Standard that the tightness and difficulties in arranging air traveling for national teams is not unique to The Gambia. ”Everywhere in the world countries are facing similar challenges because of the restrictions and regulations concerning the pandemic.
The Gambian players were scheduled to arrive in Brussels early Monday morning to allow them time to train before taking off but on Tuesday they even trained in Brussels before flying out. We are in very unusual times around the world and I think we must all focus on the match with one heart to achieve what we all desire,” the GFF official said. Meanwhile a source in the GFF has said Angola has indicated they are due to arrive today Wednesday.