By: Baboucarr Fallaboweh
We can’t be like arsenal, but our nearest neighbor Senegal has many renowned football academies. How can we eliminate age cheating and ensure that our categories are ready to compete globally? We need proper planning, project, and recommended personnel to execute the project.
The Gambia continues to be high on the ladder regarding age cheating. In 2018, seven Gambian players failed the MRI test before kickoff against Mali in the U17, which led to a suspension for this year’s edition. One word lacking in Gambian football is a transition from one point to another.
After beating Tunisia on penalties, the U20 booked their place for Indonesia’s 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced FIFA to cancel 2021. As a result, the same U20, successfully handled by Matar, who moved on to the US, is today without players and a head coach.
Abdou Jammeh of Finland, Pa Adama from Belgium, Edrissa Sallah, Uk, and Malang Jarju, US based are all successful youth coaches with Licence who can contribute immensely to helping the country’s U15, U17, and U20 teams.
We take a look at Bethel University coach Malang Jarju. The former Real de Banjul and Gambian international is a household name in the state of Tennessee. Following his 2-1 victory over Lindsey Wilson in the Mid South conference, knocking Wilson off their perch. Jarju guided both U18 ladies & U16 Boys to state titles, becoming the first coach to win both. Malang was named Coach of the year at Bethel University and Mid South conference Coach of the year.
The Kitty native is currently holding a B license.
“I want to move on; first, I want to get all my licenses and professional coaching. I want to study, the culture and everything, challenge myself and help my country because I see they struggle.” He indicated
Jarju, who has won ten titles, is known for his attacking football prowess.
“I am very attacking-minded, possession style football, we score more goals. Lots of goals. Sometimes it’s cost me games. My training is possession. Possession covers everything in the game. You stand a chance if you can control and pass a ball and create a space.”
Jarju had struggled to break into the junior categories during their playing days, something that he wanted a change within the youth set-up in the Gambia.
“Kids are never given a chance; I believe in youth soccer, give every player a chance. We don’t have categories; kids should have a feeder program; because of my body size, I can be playing U20 for three or four years. So we have to invest In youth football.”