By Sulayman Bah
Erik Stafford has favoured playing for Gambia over his country of birth Norway, Foroyaa Sport can report.
The 18-year-old attacker who plays for Norwegian Premier League club Sarpsborg 08’s reserves made the decision after being called by Coach Omar Sise ahead of the Young Scorpions clash next month.
Gambia U-20s face Sierra Leone April 2nd for the first-leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Orange Youth Championship.
The U-20s have been tested time and again including partaking in CAF Wade 4-team Cup but have always fallen short of scoring many goals. And, Omar Sise hopes with the inclusion of Stafford, born to a Gambian father Emma, the young Scorpions’ worries in front of goal would be at least eased.
Erik, who can also feature in either wings and has scored twelve goals in his first season with his club reserves, will miss the first-leg against the Lone Stars but is expected to be part of the team for the return leg two weeks later in Banjul.
Erik is kind of attacker that wreaks havoc on teams and sends chills down the spines of defenders, depending massively on his strong built, skill and pace.
Norwegian giants Sarpsborg beat off competition from a number of clubs to secure his services December last year after he scored sixteen times in seven games for Sprint Jeløy SK youth team.
His goal stats prompted a fast promotion to Sprint Jeløy SK’s first team where he netted twelve times forcing Sarpsborg to sneak in and acquire him.
Erik weighs 88kg and on 190cm tall and is among 20 players called for the youth set up.
The continental Orange youth championship scheduled to be staged in Zambia –featuring mainly players below the twenty age bracket –will see Gambia officially return to the fold after a two-year suspension for fielding ineligible players.
Gambia needs to get rid off Sierra Leone to face Morocco for the final round to be played between May and June.
In 2011, the teams met with the Gambian outfit securing passage to the group stage but soon crashed out in South Africa.
List of invited players:
- Modou Lamin Taal
- Baboucarr Ceesay
- Lamin Sonko
- Hamidou Bojang
- Pa Omar Babou
- Sainey Bojang
- Mbye Faye
- Adama Jarju
- Yahya Ndong
- Yankuba Jallow
- Ebrima Jarju
- Alagie Sarr
- Daniel Mendy
- Ebrima Sidibeh
- Pa Omar Jobe
- Saihou Jatta
- Matarr Ceesay
- Ebrima Jobe
- Bun Sanneh
- Ablie Jallow