By Brian Mboh
48-year old Belgian tactician and head coach of the Gambia national team, Tom Saintfiet has described playing against Chad as a tough game both physically and mentally for his boys and him.
According to the former FC Boom midfielder, many will expect him to defeat Chad forgetting they had participated in the last AFCON 2021 qualifiers in the same group alongside Guinea, Mali, and Namibia, getting a draw against Guinea.
The gaffer had these words in the traditional pre-match press conference at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stiadium on Tuesday afternoon ahead of their game against Chad.
“The two games against Chad are the most difficult encounters for us in this 2022.The game could be compared to that played against Tunisia or Guinea. We are a modest team full of great potentials. We have viewed a good number of Chadian games and l must say they are not a team to be neglected in a competition “.
“And so winning or losing such a game is just normal for us. At this point in time no game is easy to handle. Every encounter is a huge challenge to overcome. And it’s stressful playing a preliminary game for both sides. We had a brilliant performance in the January AFCON that saw us earned a sixth spot on the CAF ranking. We are thirsty for more. All we need most is focus for a win”. He enthused.
The Belgian will have to do without star man Ablie Jallow who’s out with a knee injury alongside long term absentee, Hamza Barry.
“The present set of players with us in Yaounde are different from the last team who participated in the just ended AFCON in Cameroon. Most of our players are suffering from fractures, wounds and COVID -19. Some have gone as far as abandoning football for other occupations due to financial constraints”. The Gambian Coach said.
Saintfiet is however upbeat that his team will do well come this weekend.
“The Chadian team composed of local and few international players, are reputed for their physical strength, toughness on the wings coupled with an offensive play style could be a huge burden for us. However, we are happy for the Cameroonian hospitality with good hotels and the beautiful fields. We feel at home each time on Cameroon soil,” Tom Saintfiet Said
Chad will host the first leg of the double header on 23 March in Yaoundé before while the reverse fixture takes play in Agadir on 29 March.
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