5 June 2012

Gambia/Tanzania: Tijan in Doubt for Tanzania

Gambian midfielder Tijan Jaiteh says he is not sure of his participation in the Scorpions next World Cup qualifier away to the Tifer Stars of Tanzania in Darussalam this weekend.

The Sandefjord midfielder was speaking in an exclusive interview with Observer Sports at the Independence Stadium shortly after playing the whole game in the Scorpion's 1-1 draw with the Atlas Lions of Morocco on Saturday.

It would be recalled that Tijan at a press conference last week ahead of the Morocco game said his main purpose of coming to the country was to secure the invitation letter sent to him when he played for the Scorpions against the DR Congo national team in Banjul in August 2011.

That game was the beginning of a long dispute between the former GPA player and his former Danish club Randers FC who claimed that the Gambian travelled to Banjul without their permission, a claim that was denied by the player before the club reported him to FIFA and also cut short his loan spell from Brann. Jaiteh said the case is still ongoing and he wants to prove to football's world governing body that he didn't travel without their knowledge in the event that it has been requested.

But the former Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland target decided to play on for the Scorpions in the crucial game and was one the best performers on the night as he dominated the midfield duel against FC Montpellier's Younis Belhanda.

Tijan's possible absence could leave a very big void to fill in the Scorpion's midfield and as the team continue to prepare for the game against the Taifa Stars, the former Norwegian championship winner says any decision he makes will be for the best interest of both player and country.

"I will discuss with the authorities concerned to see how we can come to a compromise. I am currently going through a lot but the love of my country makes me continue to play on and at the same time I have to satisfy myself. So I want the people [of The Gambia] to pray for me and know that any decision that I took is for my interest and that of the country.

"I love this country to death and that is why I am always ready to fight to the best of my ability. I love everyone and that includes my family, the president the fans and everyone because this is my country and I hope that one day, my football will reach the highest level," Tijan told Observer Sports.

Commenting on the Morocco game, the former Brann Bergen player said even though he was disappointed with the timing of the Moroccan equaliser, he was still impressed by the team's performance against a team that in the past outscored the Gambia 9-0 in four previous meetings and one of Africa's strongest teams.

He added: "We could've won the game but this is football and you can never tell what would happen but I am very happy with the performance of the entire team because you cannot compare Gambia to Morocco's level. They have players playing all over Europe's top leagues but you cannot see that gulf in class between the two teams so competing against them tells a lot about this Gambian team.

All that we are asking from Gambians is to continue praying for us because we all have to put our personal differences aside and share the same ambition so that we can achieve our goals."

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