Goal keepers are often overlooked but for Gambians to jump in joy come Sunday, September 6, Modou Jobe, Sam Jammeh and Alagie Nyabally should be at their best against Cameroon.
One man who will not overlook goal keepers is Alhagie Marong. Marong has a herculean task in selecting who goes between the sticks for the scorpions when The Gambia take on Cameroon because the three goal keepers are all willing to give their best for their nation.
Years ago, Gambia had Sang Ndong, Wandeh Njie, George Lobba and Pa Dembo Touray who recently turned down a call for national duty claiming he wants to give chance to the young ones. That decision by Pa Dembo gives room for all young goal keepers to raise to the occasion and this was what Modou Jobe did when the scorpions took on South Africa in June. But Modou has a huge task before him as Sam Jammeh and Alagie Nyabally are also eying the number one spot.
It is evident that the goalies selected for the September 6, encounter are in confident mood and are looking forward to the task if selected. While many Gambians are hopeful of clinching a win against Cameroon, Modou Jobe calls for fans to calm and maximum support from the fans.
According to Jobe the game against South Africa built his confidence and he is willing to build on to that game for future matches to come including the Cameroon encounter. The Nyarri Tally goal keeper said he has learnt a lot from that match while laughing off a mistake he caused that could have cost The Gambia.
“When I committed that mistake in the first ten minutes, I panicked but my colleagues in the team encouraged me to be focus on what is coming. I did exactly that and in front of a massive crowd, I was able to play well after that.
“The South Africa match has given me the confidence that I need to be the number one goal keeper for the scorpions.
“I know I am faced with some strong challenges but I am working very hard to secure that number one jersey.
“The competition among us goal keepers is needed as it will bring out the best from all of us. I don’t see it otherwise because that is where the best can be identified,” the Nyarri Tally goal keeper said.
Jobe known to many as Toldo has been working for close to a month with the goal keeper trainer and according to him, he is confident that he will retain his position in the team.
Sam Jammeh on the other hand expressed delight to be included in the squad for the first time saying he felt home from the day he teamed up with his colleagues in Kampala, Uganda. He also added that he is in the team to give any goal keeper the push they deserve while he fight for a place in the starting eleven.
He said: “Playing for your national team is the biggest honour you can get in football.
“My teammates have been so nice. It was like I known these people for so long. They were open and very receptive.
He said even though there is competition in the team in terms of who gets the nod, he is under no pressure noting that he is working very hard to impress the goal keeper trainer and the coach.
“When I was called up from the bench to replace Modou Jobe in the international friendly against Uganda, I was more than ready to help the team.
“I know I was not going to play cricket but football, a game I have played all my life, so I was not under any pressure,” he added.
He emphasizes that his ultimate goal is to be the number one goal keeper, the goal keeper that will take the team to the African Cup of Nations. He also noted that the team is much more important than him as an individual so he will work very hard for the interest of the country.
“It depends on the coaches who will be number one but my ultimate goal is to impress the coaches to win that number one jersey. This is why I am working very hard and this is what I am focusing on as of now.”
He commended the team spirit of his colleagues citing South Africa as an example. According to him, the South African fans were so hostile before and during the match but after the match, the whole stadium remained silent.
Jammeh who plays in Sweden said he is not bordered with what the people say about their opponents Cameroon. To him, what matters is that Cameroon will present eleven players like The Gambia will.
“I think we have announced ourselves in South Africa when we picked a point away. Maybe people will be more shocked when we caused a havoc in this game and this is possible.
“People outside the country might not be aware of what our team is all about but I know we have the materials to qualify The Gambia to major football competition. It is just a matter of time,” he said.
The other pair of gloves is 23-year-old, Alagie Nyabally who plays for Kenyan club Tusker FC. He joined from from local side Real de Banjul.
He joined Real de Banjul in 2012 from Bakau United, and is currently on loan in Nairobi until June 30th 2018.
The net minder who also captained Real de Banjul won two league titles since joining the Banjul club is also eying the number one spot. He will battle out with Sam Jammeh and Modou Jobe for a spot in Rauol Savoy’s team.
Nyabally takes pride to be called to be part of what many called the dream team of the Gambia: "I am happy to be invited by my country as it is every players dream to play for his country.”
He pledged to give his utmost if given the chance while taking positive of the competition in the goal keeping department.
“I will make sure not to disappoint the fan if I am given the chance to start.
We have a good team with good players, so I am hopeful we can get a result against Cameroon," he said.