“We Are Here To Be Competitive”: Says Coach Saintfiet As He Intends to Qualify Gambia to Second Round in Afcon


By Momodou Jarju

The Gambian Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet has disclosed that his-led Scorpions will not be adding numbers at the Afcon 2021 in Cameroon.

Saintfiet made the disclosure to the Gambian Football Federation (GFF) media team published on its Facebook platform.

“But we are here to be competitive and our group of Tunisia, Mauritania and Mali and at the end, we hope is enough to qualify for the second round and more importantly for me is to have young group of players to develop that in 2023, 2025 and even 2026 that we can qualify for the big tournaments,” he told the GFF media team in Cameroon with the team.

Speaking after the team’s training session two days ago, the Belgian tactician advised his players to enjoy the moment, adding that they want to give their best.

“It’s something you have to absorb with joy. In 10 years’ time, you can tell it to your children. In 25, 30 years’ time, you can tell it to your grandchildren. So even play [does not] always go according to plan, try to enjoy it, try to absorb it,” he said.

According to the Scorpions’ coach, he was employed to executive a mission which was to qualify the Gambia to the Afcon finals. He has since led the country to its maiden continental flagship tournament. At that moment, no one believed him, he said.

The Gambia has for the first time qualified to the Afcon finals through his stewardship and the team is preparing to sting Mauritania on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, Coach Saintfiet further disclosed that they have a full team for the first time since the start of preparation.

“We have two goalkeepers active on training. I have 26 players here, only two players are missing still in Qatar. So, we have a lot of positive things. We are happy to be here and we start working in a few days’ time. We have to be ready for the Mauritania match,” he explained.