My dearest Young Scorpions, I greet you with the piercing sounds of the glorious whistle of Africa’s greatest referee, our own brother Bakary Papa Gassama: Rise up and shine!
It’s game day for you in Conakry and while I recline in my house in Kerr Sering to the melodious sounds of Lalo Kebba Drammeh’s hit song Cheddo, my mind is fixed on you on your monumental task at hand to earn The Gambia a ticket to the next African Under 20 Championship to be held in Zambia.
The challenge is tough but so is the energy, zeal and determination you so proudly show in all your encounters. I have no doubt that you are up to the task. Yet the local proverb that no matter how fast a horse is running you must whip it comes to mind.
Brothers, you have come so far with so much excellence in all your games; you have played against the best and brightest on this continent and stood out with glory on all occasions. You triumphed in the WAFU tournament in Senegal and even the Lions succumbed to your attacking canon balls, the Atlas Lions of Morocco bowed down to your might so there is no way that these Guineans can be a better team than you.
Indeed the BBC’s Umaru Fofana was right when he said about you: “this squad can take on virtually any of their counterpart teams in the world. They are brilliant.”
All you need to do is to give it your all and victory is sure to come your way this day inshaa Allah. Your predecessors in these junior tournaments have clashed with the worlds greatest footballing nations and triumphed with glory; and I know that none of those junior Scorpions possessed better talent or fighting spirit than you!
If your brothers at the Under 17 level could defeat Brazil on the world stage you surely can move past Guinea and play on the continental stage.
Go get it my boys; and do it with the never-say-die attitude of a warrior ‘nyancho’! If I had a magic wand, I would transform you all into the ‘nynacho’s’ like your colleague Bun Sanneh’s grannies –Lol!
Come on, let’s roll this ball; make Gambia stand tall. No matter what the odds I know you can do this: Gambia must go to Zambia…
Your Chief Fan
The Gambia’s Pen
Prolific author and former Presidential Affairs Minister, Momodou Sabally is current Director General of The Gambia Radio and Television Services as well as Managing Director and Editor-In-Chief of the Observer Company, publishers of the Daily Observer newspaper