Tuesday, November 29


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Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet has sounded an alarm that the new Fifa rule and its condition for clubs about releasing their players for international duty will affect the strength of national teams.

With the COVID-19 crisis still affecting daily life across the planet, football’s governing body has introduced temporary measures to help reduce the health risk to players and impact on clubs.

As such, clubs will not have to release their players to represent their countries if it would involve a mandatory period of self-isolation of at least five days and this applies whether the period of quarantine would take place in the country of origin or arrival.

With the Gambia preparing for the Afcon qualifiers against Gabon in Libreville and Banjul this month, Coach Tom Saintfiet and his team have a small problem or even could be a  big problem. So far, two of his players have been affected by this rule.“One of them is Alasana Manneh would have been suitable replacement for Hamza Barry who is injure. We still don’t know which other clubs may refused to release their players,” Sainfiet told Eshona Sports yesterday.

The coach said the situation is not helpful as it could affect the composition and strength of national teams going out to competition within this period. “Every national team desires to have a full strength team and we are hoping that by Monday we will have all our team ready for Gabon but at the moment things are looking a bit insecure,” Saintfiet added.

The Gambia will converge players in France in the next couple of days en route to Gabon for the first match in the series scheduled for November 12 before flying back hot foot to host Gabon on November 16.