The Gambia senior team players have refused to train at the country’s Independence Stadium ahead of AFCON championship over unpaid match bonuses.

Scores of fans walked out of the stadium in anger when the team refused to show up with some throwing water bottles in the pitch. 

The fans criticised the Gambia Football Federation and Ministry of Sports for not doing enough for the players. 

Speaking to reporters at the Independence Stadium, head coach Tom Saintfeit expressed his disappointment in the players for not showing up but said they didn’t turn up due to unsettle matters with the country’s football governing body.

“I’m very disappointed that the boys are not here. I think the public who were here for the long period. For me it was a surprise that players didn’t show up, (but) I knew something was going on. But before I left the hotel with my coaching staff there was clear agreement that we would train at 6:30pm. The agreement was that the players will come but the moment I was in the dressing room with my coaching staff, I got a call from the captain to say that the team (the players) didn’t want to come. I have asked them to come and greet the fans even if they don’t train,” he said.

Sainfiet added that: “I don’t want to go in details but there are certain things unsettled and the players and also the staff are not happy and it has to do with the performances you do and agreements you’ve made some months ago.”

Meanwhile, Baboucarr Manga, who was among scores of disappointed fans lashed out at the Ministry of Sports and Gambia Football Federation (GFF). He blamed them for the dispute with the players. 

“I’m very disappointed with the Ministry of Sports and GFF because Gambia should go far from this stage as a nation, we should have good preparation but unfortunately, we didn’t have a single friendly game. And now they are talking about money issues, which means we have no chance of making it at the AFCON. This is very disappointing and disheartening because this shows that if we go, we will be expecting nothing good because of them,” he said.

The team is expected to fly out to Ivory Coast today ahead of their AFCON opener against neighbours and current African champions Senegal next Monday. 

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please disable your adblocker and support our journalism. Thank you.