Gambian football authorities have said they remain focused on preparing the national team for this month’s CAN qualifiers against Gabon despite concerns all over the world about the possible effect of the spread of the coronavirus on sports events.
The Gambia is scheduled to play Gabon away on March 26 and at home on March 30.
On Monday, The Gambia national team coach Tom Saintfiet unveiled his provisional list for the matches and it include some players plying their trade in Italy, the worst affected European country where league games were even cancelled as a preventive measure to control the spread of the virus. So far, no Gambian player has got the virus but with the players invited for the two matches expected to arrive here soon for training and camping, there are concerns that those coming from Italy could be subjected to monitoring that will affect their preparations and or participation in the matches.
According to the national coordinator of the coronavirus prevention programme at the Ministry of Health in Banjul, Sana Sambou, currently, everyone arriving at the Banjul airport is subjected to a compulsory testing of temperature and all must give their travel history during the few days prior to their arrival in Banjul.”Everyone arriving from the corona affected countries will be constantly monitored for at least two weeks and those whose symptoms matched the description provided by the WHO would be taken as suspects and will be isolated ,” Sambou told The Standard.
Contacted for comments over these concerns, The Gambia Football Federation first vice president Bakary Jammeh said as of now, the GFF is continuing its preparations for the matches against Gabon. ”We are of course aware of the growing concern over the coronavirus and its effect on global sports events and we will adhere to any directive from Fifa or Caf and indeed Gambian authorities on the matter. You know of course it will not be helpful to raise unnecessary alarm. But equally, every precaution must be taken. So we will do what we are supposed to do and follow exactly any directive from the government here or international football authorities on the matter,” Mr Jammeh said. He added that both Gabon and The Gambia will send advance parties to each other’s capitals and the good thing is that as of now, both countries are free from the virus.