By Lamin Fadera
Thirty-four days before the Gambia participate in the FIFAU 20 World Cup, which is set to take place from May 20th to June 11th, 2023, the country is yet to know their opponent ahead of the 24-team tournament because the draw is yet to be made by FIFA after it strips off Indonesia the right to host the tournament.
Following Gambia’s finishing runners-up in AFCON Egypt 2023, the young scorpions book a place under the guidance of Abdoulie Bojang.
Despite not knowing their opponent, the Gambia team prepared early for the following month’s world youth championship.
The Alkamba Times Sports interviewed Gambia rocky center-back Moses Jarju. He reflects on their AFCON campaign, the secret why he wears the number 15 jersey, the goal he scored, signing a professional contract, and how people doubted the team before they stormed the competition.
“The boy had a good tournament in the AFCON. People didn’t expect us to perform, but we showed them we were scorpions. I am happy that the guys had an outstanding performance in the AFCON, and we are looking forward to the world cup.”
Scoring a dream goal
Every footballer’s dream is to play and defend his nation’s colors; A delighted Moses Jarju told TAT Sports that he was elated to score a goal for his country.
His defense partner, captain Alagie Saine, has motivated Moses to challenge himself to improve and score a goal during the tournament.
“As a footballer, you need to improve every game. So I was expecting to score a goal I had in the tournament. So I was like, my partner, Captain Saine, has a goal; I was jealous that Captain Saine scored two goals.so I told myself I need to improve and score a goal or more to leave my name in the tournament,” Jarju told The Alkamba Times Sports.
Dream of signing a professional contract
After a stellar performance in the AFCON U20 championship in Egypt 2023, scout worldwide put their eagle eyes on Coach Abdoulie Bojang’s team. The window of opportunity was open for players like Moses Jarju to be scouted by European clubs.
On April 3rd, 2023, Jarju’s parent club Fortune Football Club announced that young rocky center-back Moses Jarju had signed for Ukrainian club FC Polissya Zhytomyr.
The dream for the youngster became true after putting pen to paper over a deal to play professional football in Ukraine, effective July 1st, 2023.
“Right now, getting to sign a professional contract is every footballer’s dream, especially as a young player having this opportunity to sign a professional contract. Although I am lucky enough to sign that pro contract, now is the time for me to step up and add more effort and hard work to seek more opportunities in the future.”
Every footballer had a role model growing up; Moses Jarju had said that former Gambian international midfielder Ebrima Sohna was the guy he looked up to as a child.
As a result, the secret behind Moses Jarju wearing the number 15 is that the hard-tackling midfielder Sohna wore the same number when he used to play for the senior Scorpions.
“My role model in the local front is Ebrima Sohna; I called him my mentor. He is the one that motivates me more and pushes me more; I give a lot of my appreciation to him that’s why I wear the number 15. when I scored my goal in the AFCON, I called and told him I dedicated the goal to him. He was so happy, and I named the goal after him.”
The expectation in the U20 World Cup
Following Gambia’s qualifications in the world cup, the 19-year-old rocky center-back is optimistic that the young scorpions will put up a respectable performance in the FIFA U20 world cup.
Jarju believes they will replicate a similar performance of the AFCON on the global stage.
“the expectation is that now everyone believes that this team can level up to the finals of the World Cup. So we have the team, the support from the management, the GFF, and the president, so we are ready for the world cup. It is about next month; we don’t have much time, so we are just trying to stay focused on the training here so that the performance can be better than the AFCON.
The Gambia will be among the nations playing in the FIFA World Cup from May 20th to June 11th, 2023.