Coach Tom Saintfiet who is currently with the national team on a training camp in Dubai, UAE has said his team is now complete with the arrival yesterday of star Ebrima Darboe the last to jet into the camp ahead of the match against New Zealand.
Speaking from the camp yesterday Saintfiet said Dubai is one of the best places in the world to have a training camp with its quality hotels and training facilities. He thanked the Gambia Football Federation and the government for the camp. “Today we had a training session in the morning which was very intense and I am very happy to have the players together. It is the right condition to work in,” he said.
The coach said he looks forward to the match against New Zealand conscious of the fact that The Gambia never succeed against a non-African opposition. “I know playing with the champions of Oceania would not be easy especially as they have good players in top leagues in Europe and they have been to two world cups, 1982 and 2010 and they could be in next world cup in Qatar next year. So they could be a very tough opponent for us but we want to mentally and physically develop the team. I prefer two matches here but that is not possible but we are happy to have New Zealand because we are preparing for a major competition, Afcon, and I think we are on the right track,” he said.
Saintfiet added that his task to select a team is not any more easy because there are now a lot of quality players each of them eager to play. “So it would be tough,” he said, rather cheerfully.
He regretted that it was not possible to get a tough African opponent this time because they are all busy playing in the world cup qualifiers. “All the same, I am sure we would learn from the match against New Zealand which is a totally different team from Africans and therefore different play,” he said.
The Scorpions are in Dubai to train and play a friendly against New Zealand on 16th November. The camp will the be the last overseas preparation camp for the national team before a farewell mini- tourney in Banjul in December.