By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
In June 2007, when the Gambia first participated in the Under 20 FIFA World Cup in Canada, none of the current players in the team was above the age of five, and today in Mendoza, Argentina, The Gambia will return to the FIFA U20 World Cup after 16 years of waiting when the young Scorpions face Honduras in a curtain-raiser to their World Cup journey in Argentina.
Guided by a soft-spoken coach, Abdoulie Bojang, both in Mauritania for the WAFU U20 competition and a historic U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the young scorpions are on the verge of setting a record on the world stage in Argentina provided that they pass the round of 16.
Speaking to The Fatu Network earlier last month after the group stage draw, coach Abdoulie Bojang said it was a fair draw, noting that the team has been prepared to face any side in the World Cup.
This was corroborated by prolific striker Adama Bojang, who was equally okay with the grouping.
In June 2007, a group of players fancied by my many Gambian football commentators as the golden generation of the country’s crop of players, the young Scorpions stunned the world with a mesmerizing performance in Canada. The team was led by prolific striker Ousman Jallow who recorded two goals in the competition and was the country’s top scorer. The Gambia crashed out in the round of 16 when they lost by two goals to one against Australia.
WONDER KID BOJANG EYES GOLDEN BOOT
Speaking to The Fatu Network ahead of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Argentina, Bojang revealed that his target as an individual is to be part of the leading scorers in the competition, with a dream to end the competition as the outright top scorer.
“My target,” he revealed to The Fatu Network is that “I am dreaming of being part of the leading goalscorers and eventually winning it, which will be exceptional for me going to the World Cup and winning the golden boot,” he voiced.
Known as the ‘Gambian Hurricane’, the 18-year-old prolific goalscorer had an impressive U20 continental competition in Egypt where he set up a national record by scoring a hat trick against South Sudan in the quarter-final of the competition, a performance that ignited attention from top European teams.
Much attention will be on him in the competition.
A Massive PLATFORM FOR THE PLAYERS
Like it did the 2007 generation of Ousman Jallow, Abdoulie Ken Mansaly and others, the competition will likely be a gateway for many of these youngsters to a professional career. Some of them are already in the books of European teams and many will be a target of several teams.
Players like Alagie Saine, Mamin Sanyang, and Ebrima Singhateh are in the books of European teams. Fortune FC’s Moses Jarjue has already signed for a Ukrainian team and will join them after the World Cup. Mahmud Bajo, the hard-tackling midfielder, is expected to sign a professional contract in the coming days.
The Gambia is grouped in group F alongside Honduras, South Korea and France.
The young Scorpions will open their campaign tonight against Honduras.