By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Ahead of his team’s crucial FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier game against Burundi today, The Gambia national team’s coach, Tom Sainfeit, has expressed confidence in the country’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup, saying ‘this is our time’.
He firmly believes that it is The Gambia’s turn to qualify for the World Cup qualifications and his squad has the potential to achieve positive results at higher levels.
Speaking to The Gambia Football Federation’s media ahead of the game, the Belgian tactician said that the ambition of the team is to participate in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, noting that it is the first time in the history of the country for the senior national team to begin qualifiers with the sole aim of qualifying.
“It is the first time in history The Gambia started the qualification round with the real aim of qualifying for the World Cup. It is our ambition, but it won’t be easy.
“We are not the favourites, but I really believe in our chances, so this is our time. In 2026, we want to be there,” Tom said.
The Gambia is placed in a group with the Ivory Coast, Gabon, Burundi, Kenya, and Seychelles. Only the country that finishes at the top of the group will secure a spot in the World Cup.
Tom believes that this is The Gambia’s chance to qualify for the World Cup, but he acknowledged that the team is not the favourite in the group. He explained that if they stop conceding goals early in the game, the team has a chance to win matches.
“We have only 3 players in the top 8 leagues. Ivory Coast has every player in the best leagues, they are big favourites, but we are also a good team. Our problem is [that] we concede easy goals in the first half, and we always have to repair the damage in the second half. If we stop conceding easy goals, we can go far.”
He stressed that it would be significant for The Gambia to begin the qualifiers with a win against Burundi and the Ivory Coast. He reiterated his confidence in the team and expressed hope that the scorpions would stink.
“I have full confidence in my squad. We can surprise our opponents and get results at high levels. I believe really that this could be our time,” he said.
The Gambia will face Burundi today in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast in three days’ time.