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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bonu Eyes African Cup of Nation

By Abdoulie Nget & Adama Jobe

The newly appointed coach of The Gambia national football team said he wants to qualify the scorpions to higher competitions such as African cup of nation and the world cup.
Mr Peter Bonu Johnson has been appointed head coach of the senior national football team of The Gambia, the Scorpions, replacing the sacked Belgian Paul Put who failed to qualify the country to the 2012 African Cup of Nations to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea later this month as stipulated in his contract.
Bonu’s appointment came just 24 hours after The Gambia Football Association (GFA) confirmed that they have, in consultation with them ministry of Youth and Sports, shortlisted five candidates for the job, but Bonu was not among.
Speaking to this paper in an interview at his residence Sancha Ba Sulaye Jobe Bonu said the appointment came as a surprise to him but he really welcomed it.
Bonu, a former coach of the Gambia Ports Authority football club and the 2009 Sports Journalists awarded Coach of the Year, said every coach is expecting to one day or the other coach your national team.
Though challenging, he said he will do all it takes to lead The Gambia to the next African cup of nations with the help of all stakeholders and the government through the GFA and the sports ministry.
The experienced Gambian coach expressed satisfaction working with foreign coaches in achieving the ultimate goal which is to lift the country’s football to a higher height, as it is stated on his appointment that he is to work with a competent foreign coach within an operational framework. He will also work with a technical team to assist him in his duties.
In players selection, Bonu did not undermine the importance of local based players. He said he will not leave them behind, saying they need to be uplifted to become professionals. He also added that he will work with both the GFA and the sports ministry to see the scorpions play more international friendly games during FIFA free dates.
He promised to win his first assignment which is a game against Algeria and he urges all fans, stakeholders, GFA, Sports Ministry to work hand in glove to see a successful Gambian football team under his tenure as coach.
Bonu’s Way through  

Peter Bonu Johnson was the assistant coach to Ghanaian coach Fred OsamDudu who guided the golden generation of Gambian footballers to the country’s first gold medal in continental football during the 2005 African U-17 championship hosted by Banjul.
Bonu was handed the job to lead the U-20 team and after the graduation of that golden generation to the U-20 team, the team secured qualification to a first ever African Youth championship in Congo Brazzaville in 2009 where it finished third and a place in the World Youth Championship in Canada later that year.
With the qualifiers for the 2010 Joint World and African Cup of Nations qualifiers looming, the GFA as it so frequently does with its employees deployed Bonu Johnson to take charge of the senior national team on a temporal basis.
Bonu was later contracted by GPA FC, which he guided from the second tier of Gambian football to the top flight, and in their first year back in division one, he against all the odds steered the team to the 2010 league title.
He was awarded the 2009 coach of the year by the Gambia Sports Journalists Association in a ceremony held at the friendship Hostel, and now the head of the Gambia national football team, the Scorpions.

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