By Sulayman Bah
When the news filtered out from the dormitory of the football federation, it seems that Gambia will have to do without a modicum of talent like Modou Barrow – a player they have toiled so hard to win over which is enough of a news to chill fans to the marrow.
But what had exactly happened with the Swansea City player being omitted from the announced 24-man roster. And to explain the drama, Savoy did not fumble for words in spite of being subjected to almost a guillotine like grilling by the local press.
‘Personal reason’ was how it was painted as offered explanation for the player’s plea to be excused from the Namibia game.
Savoy ventured: “We sent, as well invitation to Modou Barrow and he just decided at the last couple of hours not to join the team for personal reasons and that is why he is not part of the list.”
The response triggered a smattering of ‘hhmms’ and trying, apparently to quell nerves, the Swiss said: “I cannot say more than that, as I don’t know more than I’m told on the matter.”
But soon a plethora of theories began to stream to the fore. One has it that, Barrow is getting minutes from coach Monk and is intent effectively utilizing the chance he is being offered to break into Swansea’s team and plans to do that without distractions. So, on this basis, he wants to be out of the Gambia team at least for a while.
Another theory relates that the 22-year-old is injured which sounds rather all too unusual, giving the fact that no report has emerge to support this version.
The final claim, which potentially could send shivers in the spines of Scorpions lovers, is reports from the grapevine that Modou Barrow turned his back on an invitation to play for Gambia in protest of coach Raoul Savoy’s decision to axe his cousin Omar Jagne from the roster.
Jagne trades his services with Swedish third tier outfit Dalkurd and was on the score sheet grabbing Gambia’s equalizing goal against Uganda. That was followed with a call-up against South Africa and even had some playing time against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in Banjul.
The lanky striker is a big part of Dalkurd’s push for promotion to the second division this campaign.
With all this to account, Barrow is of the strong conviction his cousin deserves a mention in the Scorpion set up – a notion Savoy isn’t ready to budge down to again, according to reports.
Modou is though yet to issue a reaction to these reports but whatever the correct version, this unfolding saga will sure come as an unwelcome distraction.
This is not the first time Savoy is caught up in a web of controversy with foreign-based Gambian players. In the build-up to the Cameroon game, he was left red-faced after striker Ousman Jallow refuted the Swiss-born’s explanation of his omission from the Gambian team to family reason.
Jallow instead claimed his decision not honour an invitation by GFF boiled down to injury.