The Scorpions head coach, Tom Saintfeit will have to make do without the services of captain Pa Modou Jagne, while defender Omar Colley returns for the sixth and final qualifying match against Algeria on 22nd March in Blida, Algeria.
Jagne, 29, is nursing a cruciate knee ligament injury and has confirmed to The Chronicle that he won’t be available for the game. The left-back missed out on FC Zurich’s past eleven matches in the Swiss Super League. However, he featured in all of the Scorpions’ previous five qualifiers.
Meanwhile, another Gambian defender who is available for this crunch tie is Omar Colley. The Sampdoria center-back pulled out of the first leg against the Desert Foxes due to family reasons and was later overlooked by Tom Saintfeit for the match against Togo in 2018, though the former Wallidan defender claimed it was a punishment by the Belgian tactician by omitted him from the squad.
However, many football fans on social media expressed delight on the return of Omar Colley alias ‘OJ’ to the squad and in the same time prayed for Pa Modou Jagne’s speedy recovery.
The Gambia have a tall order reaching the Cup of Nations for the first time. Scorpions are currently bottom in group D with five points, just below Togo on goal difference. They’re just two points away from second-placed Benin. Algeria have already secured qualification.
‘’I don’t think the scorpions have any chance to qualify and it breaks my heart,” says Buba Jallow Falaboweh, a Gambian football writer based in Sweden. “This game is all about pride, Algeria have not been convincing since Brazil 2014 and critics will judge coach Djamel Belmadi on this game, Jallow told The Chronicle. It’s equally a pride for Tom Saintfeit who might coach the scorpions for the very last time’’.
John Mendy, a sports broadcaster has no hope either.
“I personally believe there’s no way out for the Gambia in this tie. They had chances against Togo and Benin to stand a better chance but it was unfortunate that everything they had has been blown away by the players’’.
For Lamin Drammeh, former Sports editor of the Point newspaper says the Scorpions need to be 10 times stronger than Algeria to be able to beat them in their back yard.
The invited players are set to arrive in Banjul on Monday March 18th and will head to Casablanca for a short training camp before jetting into Algeria on Thursday evening.
Below is the full squad list to face Algeria
Modou Jobe (El Kanemi Warriors)
Baboucarr Gaye (Arminia Bielefeld)
Omar Colley (Sampdoria)
Futty Danso (unattached)
Bubacarr Sanneh (Anderlecht)
Simon Richter (Brønshøj BK)
Mohammed Mbaye (Mjällby FF)
Ibou Touray (Salford)
Ngine Faye Njie (Gamtel)
Dawda Ngum (Brønshøj BK)
Ablie Jallow (Metz FC)
Ebrima Sohna (unattached)
Ebou Adams (Ebbsfleet Utd)
Khalifa Manneh (Catania)
Ebrima Colley (Atalanta)
Adama Jammeh (Etoile de Sahel)
Muhammed Badamosi (Fus Rabat)
Bubacar Jobe (Mjällby FF)
Musa Barrow (Atalanta)
Nuha Marong (Atlético Baleares)