The first batch of National Team players and officials have safely arrived in Antalya, Turkish tourist resort on Monday 31st May 2021 where The Gambia Scorpions will embark on a two-week training camp with three friendly international matches.
Currently, 9 players are on board awaiting the arrival of the full team who are expected later in this evening.
Speaking to the Federation's in house medium, that is currently with the Team, Head Coach Tom Saintfiet said the objective of the camp is to prepare the team ahead of the Afcon Finals 2022 in Cameroon. "And my second option is to see the new players who are invited for the first time and to group the team together," Saintfiet affirmed.
He said the official training camp will kick off on Tuesday when all the players would have arrived. "The Covid -19 situation makes it difficult for travelling because the players are coming from different destinations but we are expecting the final batch in the evening," he added. Saintfiet further expressed satisfaction with the hotel accommodation, describing it as "quite and friendly".
Commenting on the training sessions, the Belgian remarked that the focus would be to activate hence many of the players just completed their leagues. "We have to be very careful with injuries and take care of the players and their clubs as well," he added, noting that full sessions that includes tactical training would however be in place in the subsequent days.
The Gambia plays Niger in the first friendly on Friday 5th June and according to Saintfiet, the Dama Gazelle (Niger National Team) is among the tough opponents in Africa since they're currently a better ranked team than us. "And I'm really satisfied with all the three teams, Togo and Kosovo [as well]."
The second friendly is schedule for Tuesday 8th June and a final one with Kosovo on Friday 11th June 2021 to complete the three warm up matches.
This is the Scorpions first outing since the country's qualification to its maiden Afcon, which was achieved in the penultimate round of matches against Angola with Assan Ceesay's lone goal securing a 1-0 win in Banjul in March.
The 9 players currently at camp are: Sulayman Marreh, Ebrima Darboe, Musa Barrow, Musa Juwara, Ebrima Colley, Abdoulie Jallow, Yusupha Njie, Assan Ceesay and Muhammed Badamosi. The second and final batch of players are expected to jet into Antalya later in the evening and at night.