Gambia set to miss out on Manneh after US call-up

The Gambia is set to miss out on capping former Steve Biko youth prodigy Kekuta Manneh after his call-up to the United States national team.

The 23-year-old, born in Bakau, became a U.S. citizen two years ago while playing in the Major League Soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

He is among eight players including the son of Liberian president George Weah, Tim, on the 23-man squad who could make their national team debuts for the Yanks when they host Paraguay in a friendly in North Carolina, next Tuesday.

Manneh, a former Gilcock Academy product, filed for a one-time switch to the US national team in September 2016. However, due to a FIFA rule regarding maintaining residency in a country for five years after a player’s 18th birthday, he has had to wait a considerable amount of time to become eligible.

It is not clear as to whether he is now eligible for the US though he will look to be included in the country’s senior team, hoping to impress interim-manager Dave Sarachan.

A statement on the United States Soccer Federation website read: “U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Dave Sarachan has called Pachuca midfielder Kekuta Manneh into the MNT’s March training camp in Cary, N.C. With the addition, the roster now stands at 23 players as the U.S. prepares for its friendly against Paraguay on March 27.”

Kekuta moved to Mexican club Pachuca this winter after spending five-plus years in MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew.

He has featured just once since joining the club after his introduction in the 82nd minute in Pachuca’s 2-1 loss at Deportivo Toluca three weeks ago.

The 5ft 9in forward put up some decent numbers in five MLS seasons. He played 6761 minutes over 128 games (73 starts) and scored 26 goals and added 15 assists.