By Mandu Sanneh
The national team of The Gambia, Scorpions will not take part in the upcoming African Nations Cup football tournament slated for 2012 to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, following their one-all-draw against Burkina Faso on Saturday at the Independence Stadium.
Gambia’s group which consisted of Burkina Faso, Namibia and the withdrawn Mauritania, was described by many as an easy group and hopes were high that the Gambia will qualify for the first time in the continental tournament.
Now the question is: when will Gambia qualify for AFCON, after they failed to make it through in what was called a fair group.
The head coach of the Scorpions, Paul Put, a Belgian who failed with his team had said earlier that he will not resign until he qualify for the African cup of nation after his side suffered a one-nil defeat against Namibia last month. Then, if so he has a big job ahead by waiting for years more to do so.
Put, who has two more years left in his four year contract shows no sign of leaving the Gambia national team, despite the team’s failure. He did blame the ministry for Youth and sports for not being supportive enough to the national team.
The Scorpions were in their top form when Momodou Futi Danso’s header from Pa Modou Jaine’s long throw ball into the six yard box of Burkina half in the 59 minute of the game, gave Gambia the lead but due to poor defending Burkina Faso leveled the scores in the 90th minute of the game to leave Gambia at Bay.
It was a sad moment for both the fans and players of the Gambia, resulting in an early exit in the pitch by players avoiding the critical sports Journalists, who were there to interview them.
Who is to be blamed for not qualifying to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Is it players, the coach, GFA or the Ministry of Youth and Sports?
The Gambia are at the bottom of the table with four points - two points behind Namibia who bagged six points and Burkina Faso top of the group with ten points.
“Until the Sports Ministry and by extension the government commits itself to financing of our football, as it is the norm in other nations, then there is no future for Gambian football. It’s not enough for government to boast about spending few millions dalasi on the game when others are spending multi-million dollars...,” said a football lover.