Saintfiet defends Sanneh’s struggles at Anderlecht

Gambia national team coach Tom Saintfiet has heaped praise on Bubacarr Sanneh amid the Scorpions defender’s struggles at Belgian club Anderlecht.

The 24-year-old, who signed a five-year contract with the Belgian giants from Danish champions FC Midtjylland in August, has struggled for game time since the sacking of Hein Vanhaezebrouck in January with new gaffer Fred Rutten preferring a partnership between Kara Mbodji and James Lawrence.

Saintfiet insists that Sanneh, an ever-present defender in his Scorpions line-up, deserves a chance at Anderlecht and claims Senegal’s Kara, preferred by coach Rutten, is no better than the Gambian.

“That kid has not yet got a fair chance in Anderlecht. Kara Mbodji is really no better. Sanneh came to Brussels on August 31 and was thrown into the team without preparation or adaptation and on a team constantly changing between a three and four-man defense,” the Scorpions gaffer told Het Nieuwsblad.

He added: “How does he integrate? Because he costs eight million euros, the pressure on him is extraordinarily large and it has now given the wrong picture of Sanneh in Belgium. The boy is certainly good enough for a place in Anderlecht!”

It is widely being reported that Kasper Hjulmand is set to takeover at the end of the season after resigning from his post as coach of Danish side FC Nordsjælland.

Saintfiet believes should the Dane take charge of Anderlecht, it will bring a breath of fresh air for the former AC Horsens and Real de Banjul defender.

“If the Danish coach comes to Anderlecht, Buba can get another chance. He has a really good reputation in Denmark and Kasper knows him too well or maybe he goes on loan to K.A.A. Gent where he and [former coach at FC Midtjylland] Jess Thorup may have a good cooperation.”