Soul searching moment rumbles on in Gambian football

BY: Momodou Gajaga and John Mendy in Cape Coast, Ghana

What aren’t we doing right that other nations have done or are doing? Should someone lead the development path? Or who’s to be blame?

The Scorpions of the Gambia used to be lethal in continental outings, much to the delight of youths who rallied behind the Under-17s, Under-20s and so on. But now, countries like Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, etc are growing paces while The Gambia is still rooted at the bottom of the pyramid.

Minds will cast back to the 7 September 2013 since the senior national team last won in a competitive match. Former skipper Mustapa ‘Toubabo’ Jarju scored twice to give the host victory against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

This later follows a pattern of successive defeats in both Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Namibia knocked out The Gambia in the preliminaries of the 2018 World Cup 3-2 on aggregate. These strings of poor results continued into the 2017 Africa cup of Nations qualifier as the Scorpions failed to qualify.

They finished bottom of group M with just two points in 6 matches. Four of the defeats conceded were home and away loses to the eventual champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and a 4-0 home thrashing of South Africa. It wasn’t all!

Another heartbreaking moment stroked our hearts when the Scorpions lost their stint in Mali, paying the price of dumping out of the 2018 CHAN Qualifiers in July. Again last Saturday, The Gambia could not but bowed out of the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) competition, losing 1-0 to the host Ghana amid a controversial last ditch penalty.

Ask if it was also the fault of the players for not giving much that led to a string of poor results, goalkeeper and captain of the WAFU team Modou Jobe said fans reserves all rights to blame the players.

“Football is game in which everyone has a say. So it’s their opinion to say we don’t give our best as players,” he said.

Jobe further said as players, they give their best by playing their hearts out for the national team even though the results are not good recently.

“We always play good football but I don’t know what the problem is. The players, coaches and the FA are doing their job but the referees are always against us,” he concluded.