By Sulayman Bah
Securing a spot in the lucrative Orange Caf Champions League is
priority says Real de Banjul’s executives ahead of the club’s meeting
with Barrack Young Controllers.No Gambian club has gone past the first hurdle of preliminary round
and Gambian league champions Real believes such a hoodoo would be
broken as they set their sight ahead of the 14 February qualifier
first-leg in Banjul.
‘As a club, we take this business very seriously. We invest our time
and resources to see that we become very professional. We will take
this game seriously because that is what we are. No club has gone to
the group stage. We are hoping to make history by qualifying to the
group stage of the CAF Champions league,’ club second vice president
Bakary Jammeh told a media briefing at the Oasis in Senegambia.
The general feeling was one of confidence at yesterday’s afternoon
gathering. RDB who are also Super Cup winners tussles it out with a
team that boosts of eight of Liberia’s national players to their ranks
but Gaffer Amat Cham who haven’t a stint in a tournament of this
magnitude, admits of pressure to deliver, but insists he’s unfazed.
‘Pressure (to deliver) comes to every coach. There is pressure because
Real is a successful team. The plan is to qualify and that’s the
target,’ Cham continued, downplaying the absence of the club’s key
players, most of whom were sold to foreign clubs, is having any
effect on the team.
Chipping in, the club’s hired Belgian Technical Director and erstwhile
coach Franky Van De Valde said: ‘We have other players to come (as
replacement to the ones out of the team) and they are very good. The
team’s being prepared technically very well.’
Since outbreak of the rampaging ebola virus in Liberia claiming dozen
lives, football in the West African nation was temporarily put to halt
for nearly six months by the LFA.
The induced sabbatical, as precautionary to prevent the virus’s
spreading to others, many observers tip Real to come out of the duel unscathed on
account of the opponent’s lack of competition but TD Franky refused to
buy into such lame suggestions.
‘They are big club and they have eight of their players in the
(Liberian) national team. Because of ebola football was stopped but
you can’t say you are not playing football for six months. We will not
underrate them and will respect them.’
Speaking on turns, club captain Modou Jallow –who skippered Brikama in
the same tournament two years ago -was buoyant.
‘Preparation is in high gear and every player is willing do their
best,’ he said.
Gambian defending champions won’t have it easy as a tough fixture lies
in waiting against Brikama in a top-of-the-table clash this weekend
before the team enters camp.