Some football fans and pundits have accused the Gambia Senior National team Coach Tom Saintfiet for his continuous sidelining of some key senior national team players who were central to Gambia’s qualifications to the Africa Cup of Nations.
The players, coach Tom is accused of disregarding include team Captain Pa Modou Jagne, Goalie Modou Jobe and defender, Baboucarr Sanneh. But the Gambia Football Federation’s director of Communications, Mr. Baboucarr Camara told Alkamba Times such claims are false.
‘However, what I do know is that no one decides, which player either Tom Saintfiet or any of our various coaches must select. They’re 100% in charge of player selection and we see these invited lists the same day with the general public. We’ve never interfered and never will we. What we’ll do is to give the coach the environment and atmosphere to compete meaningfully and when results go wrong he’ll be responsible,” Camara said.
But sports Journalist Mbaye Camara, who regularly comments on Gambia sports posted on social media after coach Tom released his squad for the Morocco friendlies:
“Keep moving Modou Jobe (Toldo). When things were very difficult you were there to save us. I am very proud of you’, He said apparently referring to Modou Jobe’s absence from the team.
Since his appointment as Manager of the national scorpions, coach Tom took charge of 13 competitive games and goalie Jobe played 12 games leveling 1,080 minutes than any other player while combative defender Bubacarr sanneh also played 12 games out of 13. Both players played more minutes under coach Tom than any other player.
Reacting to the news, Coach Tom told Alkmaba Times: ‘I selected 26 good players, I cannot select every player so we make choices based on tactics, fitness (not injured, with a club, training and playing), group dynamics and discipline.’
He said: “Bubacarr Sanneh has no club. He played his last match on club level in March and Pa Modou is already 15 months without professional football. Modou Jobe just moved to South Africa. I have 3 quality young keepers who already played for months in almost every match’.
Sources within the Scorpions camp told Alkamba Times that all is not well after claims that Coach Tom is punishing some senior players for their refusal to take the D11 million bonus government paid to the players who even declined an invitation to visit state house in Banjul.
However, Camara said: “the coach knows what he wants from each player, depending on the nature of opponents. I know he’s following every Gambian footballer and he knows who’s doing what and what he needs from these players. So the allegations that he sidelined certain players is something I’m hearing for the very first time.”
The Scorpions will make their maiden appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year for the first time raising hopes for football fans who have long anticipated such a glorious moment for Gambian football.
Meanwhile, Coach Tom has already called a 26 man squad for his Morocco camp and the team is expected to play against Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Morocco’s CHAN Team as part of preparations for the Cameroon 2022 Afcons.
The Gambia Football Federation and Gambia government has also launched the road to Cameroon with a massive fundraising drive to raise funds for the scorpions ahead of the continental showpiece. The committee is tasked with raising D120M.