Sunday, April 2, 2023



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By Sulayman Bah

Raoul Savoy over the weekend ceased to be Scorpions coach after terminating his contract with The Gambia Raoul SavoyFootball Federation on mutual agreement.

The decision, made public at a hastily convened press conference Saturday afternoon, was reached after talks behind closed doors between the GFF and Multimedia Group International who first suggested the hiring of the Swiss-born coach and promised to pay his wages.

Raoul’s reign at the Scorpions managerial helm lasted only for six months following his appointment as Bonu Johnson’s replacement.

At the 41-year-old’s unveiling in May this year, which was staged at the FF’s dormitory, the former FC Sion reserves coach was introduced to a two-year deal and tasked with ‘building a team’ –at least so were the local press told.

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But after the Scorpions disappointing ejection from the World Cup preliminaries by a much repackaged Namibia, the federation decided to hand relief the man-in-charge of his coaching responsibilities, being the 13th career axing, despite the initial pledge to support him.

Savoy had a torrid time in his six-month spell as Gambia’s tactician with reported feuds in hisrelations with a number of key players in the camp.

Key among them was his handling of Ousman Jallow’s ‘excuse’ to abstain from international duties with the team triggering the player to publicly deny the coach’s claim.

His omission of a certain player did not sit well with some senior figures and is said to be the cause for Modou Barrow’s decision to keep away from the two-legged ties against Namibia on the reported excuse of focusing on club football.

These combined fall-outs, partly blamed on the Scorpions’ eventual exit for the Russia World Cup, played out against Savoy’s chances of staying longer than expected on the hot-seat.

And announcing the break in bond, GFF’s Ebou Faye said: “The GFF and its partners: the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council and our main sponsor of the national team, Multimedia Group International, have agreed to terminate the services of Rauol Savoy. This means that the termination is based on mutual consent.”

So who comes in?

The departure of Raoul creates a void on Gambia technical dug-out. An immediate replacement is yet to be named by the FF but if chronology is anything to follow as in the case of any sacking, immediate assistant coach Omar Sise would have been groomed to fill the vacant post.

However, giving that there are no international games till March 2016, the GFF is not pressed for time to hire a new man and have up to three months to appoint one if they so wish.

But despite the current situation, an array of names linked to thistop managerial post still continues to feature. Among the blizzard of coaches being touted to take over the job is Bonu Johnson.

Top dogs at Football House are understood to be opened to recruiting even a local-based coach with Bonu reported to be one of those being evaluated.

Despite the circles of hiring and firings he’d been forced to put up in previous stints, the ex-Gambia Ports Authority tactician is still believed to be highly regarded by football powerbrokers. His contract with the first-team was terminated and got reassigned to handle affairs of the CHAN team – a stint that ended with Gambia’s dismal sending off by Senegal. However despite his dramatic later release, 52-year-old Bonu Johnson is still said to have interest in the job when offered the post.

Omar Sise is also one name making the rounds, according to unconfirmed reports. Sise, the first Gambian to have coached beyond Africa frontiers, had spells with Bangladeshi Premier side Feni Soccer Club.

The erstwhile player-turned gaffer reportedly was one of short-listed candidates for the first –team before national team sponsors Multimedia Group International offered the GFF Savoy. But news of the Swiss man’s release, many expect, could bolster Omar’s chances of finally getting the seat he so yearned for.

Some are even suggesting, as had happened before, that the federation and government could team up Bonu and Sise or any other local coach, including Gamtel’s Tapha Manneh, to make up Gambia’s backroom staff for the remainder of the qualifier games for Gabon 2017.

Former Ivory Coast and Zambia coach Hervé Renard and Claude Le Roy and Finnish-born Martti Kuusela are all being flirted for the vacant Scorpion manager job.

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