SCORPIONS AWAIT TAIFAS TEST
Friday, June 08, 2012
The Scorpions of The Gambia will play away to the Taifa Stars of Tanzania in the second game ofBrazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Darrusalam with Italian Luciano Mancini and his charges hoping to build on their solid performance in last week’s 1-1 draw with Morroco.
The Gambian team made history by securing a first ever goal and point against the Atlas Lions and will be booming with confidence especially after that scintillating performance against the star studded Moroccans at the Independence Stadium on Saturday. Preparations has been in top gear and confidence is not lacking in the camp especially after overcoming the few obstacles despite the last minute withdrawal of Tijan Jaiteh and the dropping of Wigan Athletics new signingAlieu Darbo.
Having revealed that he is unsure over his participation in the game against the Taifas, Tijan Jaiteh reportedly joined the rest of his teammates on the trip to Darussalam and was again expected to be partnered in midfield by Yankuba ‘Mal’ Ceesay after the duo impressed in their battle against Morocco’s Huseine Kharja and Younis Belhanda. But the player’s absence was revealed on Thursday after defender Abdou Jammeh posted the development on his facebook wall.
The Sandefjord midfielder Jaiteh, 22, speaking in an exclusive interview with Observer Sports at the Independence Stadium shortly after playing the whole game in the 1-1 draw with Morocco said any decision he makes will be for the best interest of both player and country.
Tijan’s had said his main reason of coming to the country
was to secure the invitation letter sent to him when he played for the
Scorpions against the DR Congo national team in Banjul in August 2011, a game
where he also scored his first international goal with a cracking long range
That game was the beginning of a long dispute between the former GPA player and his former Danish club Randers FC who has since cut short his loan spell from Brann and reported him to FIFA. The player wants to prove his case tofootball’s world governing body in the event that it isrequested.
The former Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland target was one the best performers on the night and his absence would leave a very big void to fill in the Scorpion’s midfield. But one player who is definitely expected to play the game from the start on Sunday is Ousman Koli. The former Steve Biko and NK Sencur defender cum midfielder is expected to maintain his place at right back having impressed on his return to the international stage for the first time in four years.
Koli said he was very disappointed with the timing of the Moroccan equaliser. “It was very hurting for us especially at that time but you cannot blame an individual for it, the entire team has to take the blame since we attacked and defend together as a team and not as individuals,” Koli told Observer Sports in an exclusive interview after that game. Despite his disappointment, Koli was quick to add that they have to put that game behind them and concentrate on the game against Tanzania. He added that the team has to go all out in that encounter to take all three points.
The players have also come in for a lot of praise from seasoned technicians and the honourable minister of Youth and Sports and the president of the Normalisation Committee of the Gambia Football Association Ousman B Conateh. The Honorary President of Banjul Wallidan FC was back at the President’s seat in the VIP section of the Independence Stadium as the head of the GFA for his first game in charge since his return to chair a Normalisation Committee put up by government to restructure the game of football in the country.
Such was the battling and heart desired performance of the Gambian Scorpions that Fisco Conateh was left with only words of praise for the entire team and the technical committee. Alieu Kebba Jammeh expressed similar sentiments for what he described as a respectable performance by theScorpions.“I want to congratulate the boys for giving a respectable performance. There was the zeal, commitment and determination in the boys to get a result in this game,” he said.
With praise coming from everywhere, the team is once again expected to put up a respectable performance against the Taifa Stars and even though they will be playing thousands of kilometers away from Banjul, fans expect them team to secure the maximum points. Thatwon’t be easy though, as the Scorpion’s away form has not been one of the best of recent and the last time the team secured a competitive away win was some five years ago with a 2-0 win in Cape Verde. That away record will be put to the test again against a Tanzanian side that escaped with only a 2-0 defeat away to Ivory Coast in the same group.
“I am very much satisfied with Gambia’s response to Morocco.
We all know that Morocco is a big team. I am very happy because even if we
didn’t win we believe we have given great satisfaction to the Gambian people. I
would like to thank all the players, the staff, GFA and the ministry and all
the supporters they have made me to feel at home,” Mancini told reporters after
the draw in Banjul.
Captain also Mustapha Toubabo Jarju added that the team is very confident and will be hoping to secure all three points in Tanzania.
Author: Baboucarr Camara