Gambia Defends Fielding Over-Aged Players Against Liberia…Says They Violated No Rules
The Second Vice President of Gambia Football Federation (GFF), Kebba Touray, has defended the use of 1994 born players by the GFF in the preliminary round of the CAF Youth Championship for Senegal 2015, saying they have not violated any rules and regulations.
Speaking to reporters over the weekend following a draw between the Gambia U-20 and the Senegalese U-20 in a friendly match, Mr. Touray said, “Liberians are just claiming an unnecessary thing.”
“We know we are in line with the rules and regulations in conformity with what CAF has set regarding the U-20 rules as a guideline,” he went on, adding that they are within that framework.
“This is a preliminary; you can use 1994 born players because we say U-20 not U-19,” he stated, saying they know the tournament proper will be held in Senegal in 2015 and whosoever qualifies for the tournament will go with 1995 born players.
According to him, CAF has called for some of the players; passports with their ID cards and local club licenses to be scanned and sent, adding that they have done as CAF requested and are now waiting for their response.
Mr. Touray told reporters that everything was alright because as he put it they have not violated the rules and as such are just focusing on the return leg against Liberia in Banjul.
“We are not even thinking about the appeal because we are in line with the rules and regulations,” he remarked, adding: “We did not violate any rules and regulations.”
Mr. Touray also noted: “Be rest assured and we want every Gambian to know that whatever we are doing, we are doing it within the guidelines and the rules and regulations of the competition. We will not do anything silly that will get us out of this competition.”
“We are focused and want to make sure The Gambia U-20 team collect the maximum points in their forthcoming games against Liberia in Banjul,” Touray added.
He expressed confidence that the Gambia U-20 will “definitely qualify” because the performance they put up in Liberia will warrant them to do more at home and get the maximum points in order to get to the next stage of the qualifiers against Ivory Coast.
“We respect them (Liberia) and no complacency, but we will work hard to beat them at home as we did away in Monrovia,” he concluded.
Recently, Liberia filed a protest against Gambia after losing 1-0 at home in the first leg of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) U-20 Championship.
LFA Secretary General, Alphonso Armah said the complaint was against five of the Gambian players who Liberia insisted were not eligible to play in the competition because they were over-aged players.
Armah claimed that their Gambian counterparts allegedly fielded five over-aged players, which according to him violates a CAF circular to all participating countries, dated on September 2, 2013, which states that “only players born on January 1, 1995 or after this date are eligible to play in this championship”.
He named the players as Sampier Mendy, Buba Sanneh, Bubacarr Tarwally, Saloum Faal and Ali Sowe who it was revealed, through their passports, were born in 1994.
Gambian star Bakakary Dasseh did the damage midway in the first half to give the visitors the vital win at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in Monrovia.
Gambia is expected to host the return leg shortly.