On Gambian Football
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Yet followers of Gambian football would realise that the country’s football is not impressive. Something is fundamentally wrong and whatever illness it might be, is now chronic. Our football is in dire need of a diagnosis – a comprehensive one at that. For the country is seemingly faced with a problem of having a winning national football team, yet that problem is still little compared to the administrative crisis Gambian football is grappling with.
Following the Scorpions’ defeat to Tanzania, as usual, there were apportioning of blame, but none of those that have been pointed accusing fingers at have accepted to be left holding the bag. The team captain particularly attributed their lost to poor travel arrangements, therefore implying some sort of lapses on the part of the football administrators, but fell short of explaining why they ended up being defeated despite taking the lead first in the game.
In fact, for five games in a row, the Scorpions could not manage a win even in front of their homes fans. It has now a bad tradition that Gambia score and take the lead first, only for opponents to make a comeback back, equalise and sometimes win. This was what occurred during our game with the north African sides, Algeria, and Morocco respectively, and recurred during our recent Tanzania match.
Whether they accept it or not, the footballers undoubtedly have a share of the blame, so do the executive of Gambian sports in general, and in particular football administrators. Until today, there is no convincing explanation as to why Belgian-born coach, Paul Put’s contract was terminated. Was he not sacrificed by people who just want to save face? Moreover, it was hoped that Put’s departure would allow the football authorities to put their house in order and introduce some sanity ahead of the ongoing preliminary qualifiers for World Cup and African Cup, but what followed was even more shocking as The Gambia Football Association was dissolved.
In yet another surprise move by authorities in Gambian football, Peter Bonu Johnson, who was not among the shortlisted coaches as Put’s replacement, was appointed for the position. In another turn of these confusing events, Bonu was recently relegated to the position of assistant coach, whilst Mancini, who was his deputy, was assigned the position of coach. The Gambian public is finding it difficult to reconcile these inconsistencies and are bitter that they contributed immensely to the Scorpions’ dismal performances.