Coach Sainfieit Speaks on Amin, Cody, Mahdi, Joseph & Others’ Fates 

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By: Foday Manneh 

Over the last five years, the Gambia national team has received a handful of Gambian descents born in Europe who have agreed to play for the Scorpions other than their countries of birth. However, the fates of many other stars playing at the highest level of club football remain unknown. 

The Alkamba Times Sports talked to the head coach of the senior national team, Tom Sainfeit on his efforts to convince more of these footballers to choose the Gambia over the countries they were born and raised in. 

Many could be considering the possibility of calling some of them ahead of the June and September AFCON qualifiers but Tom, who confirmed the uncertainty around a few others, said there is little possibility of bringing a good number of them.

Mahdi Camara and Tom

Despite his intention to call a few less than the expected number for the upcoming qualifier matches against Congo and South Sudan, the Belgian tactician shall be remembered for handing 36 players their national team debut, which includes 14 descents born in Europe and the Americas. 

With the media closely following some of these Gambian descents, names like Mahdi Camara of Saint Etienne on loan to Brest in France have been highly linked with the Scorpions. Another on the list is Cody Drameh of Leeds United in the English Premier League, who is also on loan to the championship and EPL hopeful club Luton Town FC. 

Cody Drameh

Young stars like Yahya Kalley in Norrkoping, AC Milan’s Emil Roback, Mouhamadou Drammeh of Vejle Boldklub in Denmark, and Rob Nizet of Lommel SK in Belgium are all possible newcomers to unravel the Gambian colors, among others. 

Mo made his championship debut
Emil Roback, Rob Nizet, Joseph Ceesay

Amin Sarr of Lyon and Joseph Ceesay of Malmo FF, both Swedish-born, are also on the fans’ wish list, having their brothers already capped with the Scorpions at both the U23 and senior teams, respectively.  

Amin Sarr of Lyon

“It is fantastic to have so many players available but only 23 can make the squad. So if we invite new others, then some have to be dropped, and don’t forget that we also need experience. Playing in Africa is different from playing at the European club level. So, we can invite a maximum of two,” Tom told TAT Sports.

Meanwhile, as he confirmed which footballers are willing to represent the Gambia, Tom said International friendly matches could be a better chance to hand debuts to some of these European-born Gambian hopefuls. 

“Yahya Kalley, Mouhamadou Drammeh, Modou Faal, Saidou Khan, Mo Faal, and Jacob Mendy want to play for Gambia. Mahdi Camara and Cody Drameh have no interest in playing for us for now. Joseph Ceesay, Amin Sarr, Emil Roback, and Rob Nizet want to wait, they still hope for Sweden and Belgium,” Tom revealed. 

Yahya Kalley, Mouhamadou Drammeh & Mo Faal

“When we have a friendly camp like in the past, we have the chance to invite new players, but for qualifiers, we need to be sure that the players we invite deliver with the limited time we have to prepare the team,” he affirmed. 

Most of these names have once represented the youth teams of their countries of birth. As some yarn to be called to the senior teams, others are committed to switching their allegiance to the Gambia.

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