By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Tom Saintfeit, head coach of the Gambia senior national team, has revealed that with over 150 Gambian players in Europe, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) prefers him to stay in Europe for easy scouting. However, he claims that, over the years, he funded all the scouting missions in Europe by himself without compensation from GFF, while other local coaches including Ebou Faye are stationed in the country to scout players in the domestic leagues.
The Belgian tactician told The Fatu Network that he financed himself from country to country in Europe searching for Gambian players for the past years and never received compensation from the federation or any form of allowance for his scouting trips in Europe.
“Majority of the players (Gambians) play in Europe. So, the federation decided that I better be in Europe because more than a hundred and fifty players play in Europe. I pay for my flight everywhere in Europe when I go on scouting. I don’t get the allowance for that. Not only that, but I pay for my hotels, my pay for my fuel. Everything I pay out of my pocket. I don’t get compensated for anything. All the scouting trips I do, I pay for myself,” the Belgian told The Fatu Network, adding that he does all these with pleasure.
Tom explained to TFN that he didn’t abandon Gambian leagues, but he has to be based in Europe due to the preference of the Gambia Football Federation to monitor the over 150 Gambian players playing there.
According to the Belgian, he has trust in certain coaches, who are his eyes and ears in the country for scouting players playing in the domestic leagues.
According to him, his assistant coach Alagie Sarr, Scorpion team manager Ousman Cho Drammeh, second vice president of GFF Ebou Faye and head coach of GFF Division One league leaders Falcons are his people in the Gambia doing the job for him.
“I have quality local assistant coaches in Alagie Sarr and Alagie Marong plus assisted by Lamin Sanneh who is a very close friend for many years and also a consultant for me. And also, Ebou Faye and Ousman Drammeh, who always keep me updated about the local players. I have full confidence in my local staff to update me about the players available,” he claimed.
Tom Sainfeit, at some point, was under criticism for not watching domestic Gambian leagues and his lack of taste in selecting one or two home-based players to be part of his national team selection.