Paul Put’s gain and Gambia’s pain as Pa Konate switch allegiance

Left-back Pa Momodou Konate has dumped the Gambia after switching allegiance to represent Guinea Conakry at senior national team level, Gambia Sports can confirm.

The 24-year-old, currently on the books of Serie A club SPAL, represented Sweden at youth level up to U23, but has now chosen to play for the Syli Nationale after failing to get any serious approaches from the Gambia.

The former Malmö FF defender met with officials of the Guinean Football Federation led by its president Mamadou Antonio Souaré at a meeting in Paris on Friday where he pledged his allegiance to the play for the one-time Africa Cup of Nations winners and five-time Amilcar Cabral Cup champions.

“I’m looking forward to playing for Guinea. My father who is currently living in Norway will be very happy with me because he has been putting pressure on me for several years so that I play for Guinea. Therefore, when I received the call from the vice president, I did not hesitate for one moment to put myself at his disposal and that of the Guinean Football Federation,” Konate, who has won the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with Sweden, said.

Konate said his decision to play for Guinea stems from discussions he had with coach Paul Put, former boss of the Scorpions.

“I am very motivated and eager to play for Guinea as the Guinean Football Federation is setting up a very good national team for the big competitions to come. From this day on and for any need, I put myself entirely at the disposal of the national coach with whom I already discussed.”

When asked by Gambia Sports as to why he chose not to represent the Scorpions, he said: “I have not spoken to any of the officials there yet even though my mother is a Gambian and my dad is Guinean. The approach from Guinea was serious, so I chose them.”

Konate adds to a list of players that have eluded the Scorpions and represented other countries namely Joshua King (AFC Bournemouth and Norway), Mathias “Zanka” Jattah-Njie Jørgensen (Huddersfield Town and Denmark) and Joe Gomez (Liverpool and England), just to mention a few.