By Sulayman Bah
Tom Saintfiet’s contract looks done and settled hence the nod given to him to get down with the work at hand beginning with a friendly against either Morocco or Guinea Conakry.
Both opponents offer impressive challenge leading to the Belgian tactician summoning all there is of arsenal for Gambia.
Morocco and Paul Put’s Guinea Conakry are competing in this June’s Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt the venue. The two countries pose significant threat to any side they face and picked up Gambia for a friendly to put whatever final touches to their preparations for events unfolding in Cairo.
Tom is not unaware of the qualities in the ranks of Morocco and the Syli Nationale hence the intention to rise to the billing.
In trying to live up to expectations, he has called up Gambia’s very best of players which explains the recall of Hamza Barry, Bubacarr Trawally and Yusupha Njie -players he will in fact be meeting for the first time since taking over the reins last summer.
This roster of total thirty-five players is beefed up by the inclusion of eight new faces into the setup, nine of which will later be dropped.
Like in all cases with new inclusions, positions will be threatened by the new teammates seeking to get consideration of the gaffer.
Of this fresh-faced eight, is a certain prodigy causing defences sleepless nights and top teams in France haggling for his signature.
Foroya Sport takes a look what he has got to offer on the plate.
Aboubakary Kante is the name, the scorer of ten goals in France’s second most competitive league, Ligue 2. The last time he shook back of net was not last year but this past Friday. The goal, A class act of some sort.
Controlling well before changing direction and swerving to the right in a near 90 degrees move with his marker in his wake, Kante pummelled to the bottom right corner of the net as the goalkeeper lay in a heap and face down, perhaps stupefied. The opponents are no minnows, Nancy –one time French Ligue1 greats. Highlight of that sumptuous effort has gained three thousand views on social media site YouTube already.
While this is no confirmation Kante will be an instant hit with Gambia’s national team, indications are he could be.
The 24-year-old is the only good coming out of a season of gloom that has seen his second tier AS Beziers of a side demoted to the third division following a second-from-bottom finish with thirty-eight points with the same amount of games in a table of twenty teams.
His market value has risen and there is no ruling out his representatives FW Sports Conseils will be busy now that the campaign has elapsed.
The last six outings, Aboubakary has plundered in an impressive return of eight goals, a run which kick-started with a hat-trick April 19th as Valenciennes got mauled 5-6.
Reasonably, every club want the winger in its squad and a tug-of-war has teed off amongst teams even in the Ligue 1 including newly promoted Metz, clamouring for his capture.
Negotiation over a possible departure is being anticipated as Beziers grows resigned to losing their leading top goal-getter.
Born in Pontoise, Northwestern suburbs of France, Kante qualifies to play for Gambia through parentage.
Being an attacker, if he chooses to turn for the scheduled camp in Morocco, then a number of big-names have got some serious proving to do with competition expected to be heated.
Mustapha Carayol, Modou Barrow, Musa Barrow, Nuha Marong, Bubacarr Trawally, Bubacarr Jobe, Lamin Jallow and even Assan Ceesay should all feel the heat that a permanent place is no longer a certainty.