By Sulayman Bah
Bubacarr Sanneh is eager to stake his spot in the Scorpions line up when all is set and done for resumption of Gambia’s qualifier campaign for Gabon.
The Denmark-based defender is a sought-after property amongst top clubs in the Super League and is one of most revered centre-backs in the Scandinavian country’s second division.
However, it’s a total different storyline for the 21-year-old with the Gambia national team where he’s reduced to a spectator on the substitutes’ bench.
Being voted fans best player of the year in a debut season could earn one automatic place in any line, in some teams. But for former coach Raoul Savoy, experience presides over youthful exuberance. And when the Swiss coach preferred four veterans in the Scorpions’ back-four there was mumbling, largely from Sanneh’s hordes of supporters. Mercifully, not much goals were let in, appearing to validate the coach’s preference.
Dubbed Timber, a nickname accorded to him by fans referencing his no-nonsense brilliant piece of defending, Sanneh managed to feature in an official game only once in the World Cup first-leg qualifier duel against Namibia in Banjul. And in that brief cameo, he played a part in the build-up to Gambia’s equalizing goal but as Raoul will have it, he was still on the bench in the second-leg in Windhoek.
Sanneh though is hoping his days of being overlooked are over, seeing the appointment of Sang Ndong as fresh start.
‘Well is a great moment to be called to represent my country because that’s the dream of every player. But to me, I was not having enough chances to play in the team. I have already shown what I’m capable of in 2014, against Tanzania,’ he says. ‘But you know, every coach has his own way of working even do it’s unpleasant a bit.’
‘I always sacrifice, leave my team playing and come for Gambia but I end up being on the bench. But yet still I’m a footballer I have to accept it. Hope I get playing time soon (this time),’ the former Real de Banjul stopper tells Foroyaa Sport from Denmark, Horsens.
Gambia’s booting at the preliminary round of the World Cup for Russia tempted the federation to pull the trigger on Savoy. But prior to that, news of reported rift in the camp including some certain player’s failure to deliver, clouded the team.
‘I think our problem is on us (the) players. If they invite you to come and play, (try) sacrifice by all means to give out what you can (in the field). We players need to change things for Gambia in terms of football now. Is the high time. It’s football that made them (the federation and coach) send us the tickets to come over. So we have to play and live up to fans expectation of us.’
The Scorpions take on Mauritania next month, an outfit that stunned big guns South Africa to go second in the standings.
With test matches for the new coach out of the cards giving there are no FIFA dates between that time, the task to upstage Mauritania likely in Senegal –for the first tie – is a project not keen out of the doldrums staunch critics would say.
About the new man at the managerial helm and the coming clash, Bubacarr summed it up this way: ‘the game against Mauritania is in the corner. There should have been a test game for the coach to fish out the areas he needs to develop including the team structure too. Sang Ndong, I hear is a good coach but I have never played under him. I believe though with him, we can achieve what we want with his assistant -my ex-coach. May Allah join we players and his luck together.’
Follow an exclusive lowdown on this story with Bubacarr this week.