FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

27 February 2013

Gambia: I Believe in Local Players - Says Mancini

Hours from the test match with Mauritania, Gambia coach Mancini has spoken of his preference for home grown players in another show team trust by the Italian.

Gambia is ditching its rather overrated overseas players, taking a local approach in display of almost total commitment to home grown ones - a first time initiative at senior level for many years, as football authorities put it, 'forming a formidable team in the future'.

And in the build up to coming qualifier matches, and today's friendly with Mauritania, Regional coach turned Scorpions manager, Mancini, in a buoyant mood at a hastily staged press conference at Bambo Hotel, acclaimed his home grown players as possessing 'experience'.

"Local players very good. I believe them. Have important experience' the 56-year-old donning a blue Gambia jersey and clutching a tri-coloured jacket to his left, hailed, before start of the meeting.

With foreign-based players swapped for the internationally unexposed talents, the objective of replicating glory days -as in the U-17 World Cup in Peru in 2005 -undoubtedly appears a hefty load over Mancini's shoulders giving the lack of match competition dogging the Italian's charges before the make or break Ivory Coast game next month.

But unmoved by the hiccups, Luciano still remains confident and looked desperate to prove a point today at the Independence Stadium -albeit with all respects, against a minor side in the Mourabitounes of Mauritania.

The Gambia could be handed some deserved team beefup as Dawda Bah, veteran defender Abdou Jammeh and Norway-based Tijan Jaiteh are 'likely' to be featured.

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