By Baboucarr Fallaboweh
The Gambia Male and Female U21 beach volleyball participated in their first-ever world championship in Roi-Et Thailand.
Belgium par emerged as winners for the male category while Desy Poiesz & Brecht Piersma from the Netherlands won the women’s category. The young Gambians who were among six African countries in Thailand lost all their three matches.
Coach Baboucarr Barrow spoke to the Alkamba Times as the team is expected to arrive back on Tuesday.
“This is the first time we are competing in the U21 world championship, there are lots of things that it has taught us. The atmosphere and environment count, the level of preparedness. We missed a lot in preparation. The level of our opponents compared with us also contributed to the poor results of our first outing.”
“The exposure factor, you will find that most of these players that are playing in tournaments especially those from Asia, and Latin America, are players that are been exposed to so many competitions compared to the African teams, especially the Gambia. There are lots of things that we must put in place. The levels are not the same, it will be difficult for an African team to qualify from the group stage in the junior categories.”
Barrow further on highlighted that only one of his players featuring in Europe also speaks volumes of the level and why they should endeavor to back up.
“Most of our players are going to Qatar because that’s the only place that they are opportune to, one from this U21 has signed a contract in Dubai. Currently, we only have one female player that is playing in Europe.”
“We have laid so many plans. Although it’s never easy, from the side of the federation, coaches, and players, it’s always a big challenge. Now we are all being proud, to be among three African countries to come to Thailand. More countries from Africa are supposed to be here but they aren’t due to several reasons. We got support from our government, and we represented the Gambia and Africa. We will see how best we can train with the players and go to international competitions.”
“The challenge with the players is the society, which includes their families and in turn, makes it difficult, it affects our training that’s Africa in general for you,” he added.
The Gambia was represented by gold and bronze medalists who conquered Zone II. Laity Nyabally and Marimo Dampha and for the female category, it was Anna Marie Bojang and Fatou Ceesay. This is the first time that the Barrow government is investing in Beach Volley by approving over D1.7M for the CAVB World Championship.
” I wouldn’t dwell much about why we lost heavily, but among the reasons is the high-class opponents we faced who have been competing for so long and managed to finish in 2nd and 3rd in the tournament. We haven’t been consistent in our preparation either.”