GUNJUR ON COURSE FOR BACK-TO-BACK ZONAL TITLES
Super Nawettan Defending Champions - Gunjur (Photo credit: Famara Badjie)
Gunjur's push for a back-to-back title glory in Super Nawettan has been boosted by a resounding quarter-final victory over Kombo neighbours, Kombo East, to secure a place in the semi-finals of the competition.The Dabanani boys started the game well, they were truly alert and incisive in their play from the onset, which made clear the champions meant business, and the Kombo East team, packed with players from across the county knew they were up against it this time.A brace from everyone's 'Uncle', Malang Jassey, who has finally found his shooting boots, and the goal from a player who carries the alias of one of the world's greatest players, Alexandro Del Piero, Yusupha Janneh sealed the victory.Gunjur was all over them right from the word go as the team took off in style, with an all out-attack phenomenon, which left new comers dazed and in confusion.
Gunjur's Malang Jassey (Uncle) scored twice against Kombo East
Malang Jassey, who goes by the Pseudonym 'Uncle', opened the scoring with a brilliant free-kick from 20yards, with only 28 minutes played. A lead the team maintained untill the break. Although, they could've and maybe should've had a second going into the interval. However, the team took off from were they left off after the restart, probing and proding around the Kombo East area, as they continued to show their dominance, and it didn't take long before Jassey added a second, squashing any chance of a comeback from the newcomers. It was at the end of a brilliant passing move, which is becoming a familiar feat in this team's play, combining six passes brilliantly together before it got to Jassey, who controlled the ball well in the box and fired a real thunderbolt into the roof of Bubacarr Camara's net. The goal made it a mountain for the beleaguered Easterners to climb, as they bellowed in anger and frustration, while the Gunjur supporters continued their indulgence. Yusupha Janneh (Del Piero), completed the rout moments later in the stoppage time, with a tap in from close range for Gunjur's third. The win capped a very good campaign for the defending champions, who have so far not met anything they cannot see through, and it ensured they stayed on course to retain their title, which won't be far fetched, considering their rich vein of form of late.
The Champions are in fine form due to resilient defending
The champions are in sensational form, having amassed consecutive wins in the Zonal competition, of which yesterday's win was their 6th in 7 games, dating back from the same stage last season. And statistically they are the most consistent in the competition. It's been over a year since the team last lost a game in the competition, and had scored 15 goals since that fateful 1- 0 lost to Sukuta in the group stages last season. But as much as scoring goals, the team has also demonstrated a very mean streak in their defensive resilience, having conceded only 5 goals in that same period, and this includes the two they conceded in the semi-final penalty shootout against the Sukutarians. They are also yet to concede any goal this season, and have scored 7 thus far. This defensive resilience is attributed to the team's back four, but more so to the towering Linch-pin figure, in the form of Saikou Barrow, whom some are already touting as one of the best defenders in the country. His calm presence and reading of games is up their with the best.
What the fans say about Gunjur's performance thus far One Gunjur fan, Yusupha Senko Touray, who was full of praise for the astute defender, described him as a throwback with a brilliant instinct. "He may not be Del, Mbemba, Alama or Bapa but Saikou is a classic central defender," Touray wrote in a facebook post, adding: "In an era when the old centre-half is becoming more about athleticism and physical attributes than any sort of defensive nous, the Gunjurian is a throwback who weds that physical gifts he has with a brilliant instinct and love for defending." Saikou's prowess in this success story may be somewhat overlooked, but he is not the only one, Yusupha or Del Piero is another, after bagging his second consecutive goal in this year's tournament despite being a late addition to the squad, after being left out of the initial selection.
Kombo East Team coach proud of his team's performance
Despite the humiliation meted out at his team, Kombo East's coach, Omar Faye was content with the performance of his side, citing the fact his team made the quarter-finals in their maiden season. "Some were telling me you might loose by seven goals. Gunjur has already beaten teams more experienced than us, and they'd won the cup last year. Am not disappointed am so proud to be in the quarter finals against the champions” said Faye. He continued: "We came, and in our first year we reached the quarter-finals, thank God am not even seeing it another way”. Mr Faye added."Thank God they scored three goals, am so happy with my boys.”
Kombo East Team (Photo credit: Famara Badjie)
His opposite number, Bubacarr Bojang who guided Gunjur to last season's triumph has been bouyed by his teams performance so far, and is adamant his side can defend their title, describing their mantra as 'operation back-to-back.' "We going to retain the title, our motto is operation back-to-back," Bojang told reporters, before also stating his dissapointment abou last year's Organising Committee for not handing the prize money owed to the best player and leading scorer, who were both from his team. "But one thing that disappointed me is that last year we won the title and we have the best player and top scorer from our team, but still they don't have their prizes which is not fair" added coach Bojang. These are great times for the town of Gunjur and Gunjur's football, and it cannot be mentioned without the recognition of the fans, who have been nothing short of brilliance hitherto, as they continue to march toe-to-toe with the team, and Fabu Jammeh, a fan, was truly actuating in is his rallying call on his fellow fans, whom he described as the 'key' to the team's success. "Gunjur Fans, the key to our success," he wrote in a post to the Gunjur Nkolu Forum on Facebook, adding : "We are soliciting support to transport them to the next match. Together we can make the back to back dream a reality!!" Gunjur will now face the winners of the Sukuta, Banjul game in the semi-finals. How about that - Gunjur Dabanani versus Sukuta Dembadu? Editor’s note: if you would like to contribute in cash or kind to the Gunjur Zonal Team in this year’s competition, please contact the organising committee.