Dissatisfied with how they were treated after qualifying the country for their maiden Afcon, the Scorpions have turned down their leader’s call. Players of the Gambian senior national team have boycotted meeting with President Adama Barrow due to a row over bonuses.
Having qualified for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations slated for Cameroon, the Scorpions were scheduled to meet with the West African country’s number one citizen on Monday.
According to BBC Sport Africa, the gathering would see President Barrow give the team 11 million Dalasi (approximately $215,000) to be shared between the players and backroom staff involved in the historic feat.
Nonetheless, the squad does not think the money echoes the degree of their achievement – insisting that accepting the cash prize will set a pattern for the future.
“The team would like to thank His Excellency for the invitation but would kindly decline the invitation to meet and the money offered,” the players stated in a letter sent to the Gambia Football Federation president Lamin Kaba Bajo.
“For the players, playing for The Gambia has never been primarily about money. Instead, it was always about flying the Gambian flag higher and making the Gambian people proud.
“The players had always been happy to answer calls to play for the national team without expecting or asking for anything in return, regardless of the difficulties that sometimes come with it.
“Football is a game of incentives. Having qualified to compete in next year’s African cup of Nations for the first time in Gambian history.
“The team deserves to be given a bonus that would motivate the players and every child who dreams of playing for the Gambia someday.
“The team feels that the respect and motivation given to the players fall below what it is supposed to be. For that reason, the players unanimously decided to decline the invitation.
“If the GFF accepts the offer, it would not be doing so on behalf of the players.
“We hope that going forward, the players would be given enough motivation as the preparations for the African cup continue.”
Zoned in Group D alongside Gabon, DR Congo, and Angola, coach Tom Saintfiet’s men finished as group winners after accruing 10 points from six encounters.