Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gambia’s Priority is to Qualify for CAN 2012


Posted by Modou S. Joof on May 26, 2010 at 4:34pm
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Technical Director of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) Momodou Kebba Ceesay said in an interview with Cafonline.com that the country is focused on qualifying for 2012 Nations Cup.
The GFA's Technical Director also harps on issues on the world’s most popular sport and the chances of African teams at the World Cup in South Africa 2010.
The Gambia has never made it to the Continent’s biggest tournament and the GFA Technical Director believes the country making her debut to the Africa Nations Cup is the focus. Read on….
Cafonline.com: We saw the Gambia Under-17 in 2005, and were expecting the performance to reflect at the U-20 level and the senior level. What went wrong?

Momodou Kebba Ceesay: We are engaged aggressively in grassroots development and we have a transition
of teams from Under-17, to under-20 through to the senior team. The junior teams are doing very well; they have qualified for the final phase of the Africa Cup as well as the World Cup respectively: Peru (2005) and Canada (2007).
 
The senior team has not been able to go that far but as I explained, there is a transition. The Under-17 becomes Under-20 and Under-20 is now growing into under-23 and senior team. Eventually, we have the positive impression that we will be at the next Africa Cup of Nations and we are working in that regard.
Currently, we are preparing for the next round of qualifiers for the 9th CAF U-17 Championship, Rwanda 2011; Africa Youth Championship and preparations are also advanced for the senior team. We are really focused on participating at the next Africa Cup of Nations.

Cafonline.com: What of women’s football?

Momodou Kebba Ceesay: Women’s football has not really been very active largely because we don’t
engage in competitions. We have been working on building a women’s team but the problem is the lack of competitions. We are hoping to qualify for this year’s Africa Women’s Championship for the first time so our women can join the Africa football community.

Cafonline.com: What are your impressions about the last Orange Africa Cup of Nations held in
Angola last January?

Momodou Kebba Ceesay: Regarding the final (Ghana vs. Egypt), I was fond of both teams. We benefited
from coaching expertise of a Ghanaian coach for our Under-17 team, which won the continental championship in 2005. We also benefited from an Egyptian coach for the Under-17 which won the last Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria. But I was impressed by the tactical behavior of the Ghana team in handling the Egyptian team which was matured and more experienced. Ghana had a young team and their tactical maturity in trying to contain the Egyptians was very impressive for me.

On the other hand, Egypt is one of the best teams in Africa. They are very consistent, their players are disciplined and very talented, and we applaud them for their victorious feat. We hope they will continue with the same pace but they must also realize that football is now global and any team can take on the other no matter how big or small they are.

Cafonline.com: What is your assessment of the six African teams participating in the upcoming
World Cup and do you think an African team can at least reach the last four for the first time?

Momodou Kebba Ceesay: I think so far we are very much optimistic that there is the determination and
zeal amongst the teams that have qualified to proceed beyond the quarterfinals. But I must caution that they have to work very hard compared to what’s been seen of them in Angola during the Africa Cup of Nations.
From Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria to South Africa, they have to double their efforts and ensured they are refined and reformed tactically.

Cafonline.com: What must they improve on?

Momodou Kebba Ceesay: In the case of Cameroon, I think they have many ageing players. I believe its
time they revolutionized and changed their team. I mean bring in new blood. For Cote d’Ivoire, they have to learn to play as a team not as individuals. They have individual stars and have to learn to play as a unit.
Other than that, they will face the same problems that they cropped up in Angola.
Nigeria, they have to inculcate discipline amongst the players and respect for the laws of the game. If they do that, then they will persevere. The Ghana team I think they will do more than we expect. They look more disciplined, composed and are youthful. They may have some setbacks in terms of experience but I
think they will do well.

Cafonline.com: What of Algeria and hosts South Africa?

Momodou Kebba Ceesay: I must confess, I have some doubts about the chances of the South African
team. For Algeria, they must learn to be discipline, because football is a game of discipline whether you are winning or losing. Tactically and technically, they are a very good team, very fast, and have big players and a high sense of discipline will do them a lot of good.

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