Monday, August 2, 2021

Noah Sundberg, Maudo Jarjue – The Gambia’s New Walls of Jericho

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By Sulayman Bah

Bubacarr Sanneh, Omar Colley and Pa Modou Jagne are names quite akin to Gambian fans from time of the triumvirates’ formative days.

They’ve passed through tutelages of various national team coaches and were resolute in each of those transitions.

Trusted they’re still in the heart of defense and have seen out a couple of World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaigns with Pa Modou’s first senior cap spanning back in 2007.

The trio are integral figures in Tom Saintfiet’s promising plans and are difficult to dislodge in the pecking order. However, we could see an alteration in this order or at least their places in the Scorpions back-line shaken by the calling up of Noah Sundberg and Maudo Lamine Jarjue.

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The Austria Bundesliga and Swedish premier leagues are where the duo is drawn from. Walking straight into the Gambian line up, never mind their marquee tagging, will be herculean but the friendly against Guinea Conakry presents them with the needed occasion to show their worth.

Photo: Maudo Lamine Jarjue

Noah is of a bigger profile having starred for Sweden in all cadets including in the Olympics before his decision to switch allegiance to the Gambia coming on the back of several previous attempts of cajoling from men at the football federation in Kanifing.

He was initially in AIK Solna’s books as one-for-the-future but the then coach’s apparent uncompromising stance or rather non-entertainment of academy products from the B-team, preferring to thrust established players in the lineup, meant Noah’s development laid elsewhere.

Sundsvall provided that warmth and a loan deal was sanctioned there where he played twenty two times the first season and twenty-seven in the ensuing stint before opting to join present club Ostersunds  FK –also in the Swedish top tier –having drawn to the conclusion AIK isn’t for him.

This switch, has by reckoning, proven paramount for the centre-back’s growth and particularly for the club who’ve morphed from regular league under-achievers to contend mid-table occupants. The 24-year-old has figured in all nineteen games for his outfit this term with the exception of this past weekend’s fixture owing to national team duties.

Gambia’s back-four has shipped in three goals in two games –one against Angola and two with DR Congo. The let-ins will be adding up to seven if the Djibouti encounters are to be added.

The addition of Noah is tipped to rectify this patch – a kamikaze howler Tom Saintfiet will be more than itching to see cease.

Photo: Noah Sundberg Sonko

Photo: Noah Sundberg Sonko

Photo: Noah Sundberg Sonko

This trajectory, of a positive, creates room for healthy competition but certainly spots will be threatened if the Swede-Gambian replicates club performances, which earned him the sobriquet The Wall, for the scorpions.

Being contracted to Wien, Austria’s 24-time premier league champions, hints of a pedigree, which TV watchers from the Gambia will be hoping Maudo display during his debut for the Scorpions possibly against Guinea or Congo Brazaville.

In him, is every hallmark of former U-17 African champion Lamin Basmen Samateh, in playing style.

Combative, robust and intimidating, Jarjue brings to the table a different but welcoming blend of panache.

Photo: Noah Sonko

Not a shrinking violet, the soft-spoken ace can also field as a defensive midfielder, a plus gaffer Tom Saintfiet won’t be hesitating taking advantage of when abrasions ravage the team.

Noah and Maudo could jell into a formidable pairing and become Gambia’s promising new walls of Jericho.

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