Gambia - Saintfiet looking at players who fit in the system

Gambia v Togo Friendly

Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet says he is looking at players that understand and fit in his system after Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Togo in Antalya, Turkey.

The Belgian named nine new players in his latest squad for their training camp in the Turkish resort as he works on building his squad ahead of next year’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.

“For me as coach it’s very important to see players playing in the tactical discipline,” Saintfiet said after the match. “I know all these players are good football players, and Gambia has a lot of good footballers, but I’m looking at players who fit in to the system, who understand what the coach wants to achieve good results.”

Former Young Scorpions captain James Gomez scored the game’s lone goal with a 72nd minute header on his senior national team debut.

The former Real de Banjul defender rose high from the back post to direct Musa Barrow’s inswing freekick behind Malcom Barcola in Togo goal.

19-year-old Gomez was one of three players who made their debuts against the Sparrow Hawks on Tuesday alongside Muhammed Sanneh and Aboubakary Kante, as Saintfiet made nine changes to the team that beat Niger last week.

Gambia Coach Tom Saintfiet

“I’m very satisfied, we have a lot of players who are new in this camp, it’s not easy. We started with a defence where Captain Bubacarr Sanneh is the only experienced player surrounded by debutants James Gomez, Omar Gaye and his brother Muhammed Sanneh, but they all played very well.”

The AFCON bound Scorpions created some chances against Jonas Kokou Komla’s team but the former Namibia coach said his plan was to take control of match.

“In the first half, Togo had more of the ball possession and created chances, but the idea was not to concede, and I think Yusupha Njie also had opportunities to score. In the second half we lifted up the level with the introduction of fresh legs and we created many chances. I’m very satisfied with the victory,” concluded the Belgian coach.

Gambia will conclude their three-match training camp in Turkey with a friendly against Kosovo on Friday, June 11 at the Emir Sports Complex.