Scorpion’s head coach Tom Saintfiet said all players are equal and will have to fight for their place as the team head for a week-long training camp in Portugal where they will play two friendly matches against Guinea and Congo Brazzaville.
The friendly matches are expected to help the Scorpions intensify preparations for their group D qualifier against Gabon in November.
“It is always like that, players have to fight for their position, “Tom tells The Chronicle. It has to do with performances, tactical understanding, team spirit and discipline. Players have to fulfill all these to be part of the squad, ‘he said.
Last week, Tom announced a preliminary 40-man squad that is expected to be pruned by the time the team leaves for Portugal on October 5th.
The Gambia currently lead their qualifying group for the Afcon finals in January 2022 having garnered four points after two matches. However, Saintfeit claimed that players are so far focused on the two friendly matches and not the Gabon tie. “We don’t talk particularly about the Gabon game because it’s too early, “he tells The Chronicle. “We are now focused on Congo and Guinea who are both tough opponents. I know the players are mentally ready to face Gabon, we talk weekly but not about the Gabon match.”
“Every week I talk to most of the players, we are always in touch. That’s my approach. I need to do that. I need to get information from them, “Tom said.
Meanwhile, some scorpion’s fans like Saidou Sallah have expressed their thoughts on how the coach should build a winning team going into the qualifiers. “The coach should consider players who are willing to die for their country at the expense of their own interests, “he said. “All the selected players for the remaining games in the qualifiers should have a strong sense of national honor. We have a huge chance to qualify, let’s make best use of it.”
“We need to build a compact team, said Ousainou Jammeh another fan. The coach has a big task to select the best players for us, “he said. I’ve seen his provisional squad and most of the players in there are not active with their clubs. Players fitness is key in our quest to qualify.”