TAT Sports Exclusive: Mamin Sanyang’s arrival shows success in the scouting network, But…

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Sanyang with Coach Abdoulie Bojang at the ongoing Afcon U20 Tournament in Cairo, Egypt

By: Baboucarr Fallaboweh, TAT Sports Editor 

How does the Gambia come so close to convincing Gambian players born in Europe, yet we still need the desired numbers? Is it that they don’t fancy playing for the country, or do they have places they feel are better? Well, there are lots more questions than answers as far as this matter is concerned.

Amin Sarr, Mahdi Camara, Alexandra Bah, Pa Conateh, Muhammed Cham

Alexander Jallow is the few we lost in the past years as they chose to play for the countries they were born or raised in. 

The few that came were far off their peak, and when their dreams of playing for their country of birth escaped them, they sought new adventures with the Scorpions.

Serine Sanneh, Ethan Bojang, and Momodou Talibeh Jallow were the few players recruited and convinced by Matar Mboge to join the U20 in Mauritania.

 Although only Mamin Sanyang came this time, he will add fireworks going up front. But looking, in general, there are lots of potential U17, U20, and U23 and senior national team players to be scouted, especially those born in Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and France. 

Mamin Sanyang

The scouting department over the years did a tremendous job, convincing Leon Jawara, Saidy Janko, Noah Sonko, Lamin Sarr, Sheriff Sinyang, Sulayman Bojang, Robin Jatta, Baboucarr Gaye, Ibou Touray, Ismaila Jome, Jesper Ceesay, Abubacarr Kanteh, Ibou Touray, and Ebou Adams to play for the scorpions.

 

Coach Tom Saintfiet with the new scout for Scorpions, Mahdi Camara.

This group brings experience, tactical awareness, discipline, and the desire for success. They are featured in their country of birth, U17, U20, and U21.

Creating a mixture of home talents with foreign-based has proved successful, with Senegal doing it in the AFCON and Morocco doing it in the World cup. Achieving that depends on a successful academy scheme, proper structures, and facilities. It’s not only the academies but the structures, investment, and resources invested in those projects.

The football identity & philosophy of all national teams should be the same, having one DNA and style of play.

The new crop of Gambian players raised in the diaspora who are ready to play for the country is led by Mamin Sanyang. The 20-year-old right winger who plays for Bayern Munich’s second team in the German Regionalliga is a complete talent with the world at his feet.

Born in the Gambian city of Brikama on February 6, 2003, Sanyang left for Germany early and played for Hiddenheim and TSG Hoffenheim before joining the Bayern Munich U19 in 2020 and progressing to the second team.

Sanyang

Starting with the current Gambian U20, Sanyang can integrate into the senior team in a year or two.

 Academies

No academy in the Gambia is worldly recognized, unlike Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. The QCity academy was meant to be a springboard but has to crumble on its feet.

Great academies like the Medina Academy, Gambinos, Greater Tomorrow academy, and BK West academy are coming up. The gap that Gifts academy left is huge; Gifts FC exposed many players to attend youth tournaments in Norway. Most academies went straight to third-division qualifiers and lost their players here and there. The Gambia has benefited dramatically from the Aspire Academy, which saw graduates such as Bubacarr Boye, Alasana Manneh, and Momomdou Zaka Jallow. 

We are looking at that wow factor when Felix Afena-Gyan joined the Roma U16 and then proceeded to the A team before being sold to Cremonse. Such a leap has yet to happen for a Gambian player.

Supers Stars academy’s establishment would have been a breakthrough that the Gambia may have taken, but only Abdoulie Sanyang came on top out of the 100 players groomed and assembled.

GenerationFoot dominates every selection of the Senegal junior category; they had five representatives in the CHAN team and 6 in the current U20. However, with Lamine Camara, Papa Amadou Diallo, and Malick Mbaye already signed for Metz, there has been continuous progress that only two players will join Metz every season.

 

These academies in Senegal, such as GenerationFoot, Diambars, AF Darou Salam, Oslo FA, and Espoirs de Guédiawaye, always prepare young players for different age categories. 

 Trust in Youths

James Gomez made it from incredible batches of U20 to the national team, and the AC Horsens defender made a name for himself with the national team, earning 12 caps. Although Jesper just played the U23 qualifiers before being thrown into the fray, his inclusion might be covering the void left by injured Ebrima Darboe, despite having Saikou Touray, Alfusainey Jatta, and Sainey Njie. 

Talents like Lamin Jarju, Kjallay Drammeh, and Lamarna Jallow were all players that could have given a shot at the national team. Instead, their continuous delay has made Senegal easy prey to tap into our players and commit them to their U20s and CHAN team. There is a receipt of success provided by Muhammed Sanneh, but many Muhammed Sannehs are waiting to grab their opportunities when they knock.

A scheme must be implemented to properly recruit these players to be integrated into the system. We need help convincing a lot of the players we crave, these players have agents, and they read social media. What has affected the brand of the national teams? On and off the pitch, matters play a significant role for these players in deciding to switch nationality. 

 With The Gambia banned from the CAF and WAFU U17 for age cheating, recent success at the U15 football championship shows there is talent. But Tom Saintfiet cannot do it alone when it comes to scouting. There should be proper scouting structures put in for all national teams. For example, goodwill ambassadors were appointed to serve as scouts in various European countries. But, unfortunately, such appointments didn’t yield success.

Nuha Jatta RB Leipzig, Eybi Njie – Torino, Lamin Deen Gningue Napoli, Alieu Faal Cercle Brugge, Yahya Kalley IFK Norrkoping, can represent the Gambia, and it’s just beyond the work of the media and fans.

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