By Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Gambian Gibril Sillah will become the second Gambian player ever to play in the CAF Club champions league since its introduction in 1998. He will appear with his Senegalese club Teungueth FC which booked a place in the continental showpiece after edging out Raja Casablanca in the qualifying rounds last week.
The first Gambian to play in the continent’s biggest club competition is Abdourahman Conateh in 2004.
The former Samger and Fortune wing wizard guided his side in a famous win against Raja Casablance, becoming the first Senegalese team to make it to CAF champions league group stages after Jeane D’Arc in 2004.
” This is going to be an honor for me being the only Gambian to play in the champions league this season,” Gibril told The Standard.
” I have been working hard as an individual and knowing I’ll become the second Gambian ever to play in the competition means a different thing. It is a motivation that I believe will keep me going,” he said.
Gibril, who started his interest in football in the Barra Youth Football Academy, moved to the Sengalese side shortly after signing for Fortune Football club from Samger in 2018.
The 22-year-old Gambian international started life in Senegal slowly adjusting to the new environment in Dakar before becoming a key player for the team. His ability in running, taking on defenders, and creating space for his teammates are what make him a left-footed tricky player who creates as many penalties, goals, and assists in a season.
“Gibril has passed through the right development as a young star and he has all that it takes to be up there. I knew from the onset that he would achieve a lot and that was why I had to invest in him as a coach from an early age”, Jane Joof, who coached him at the Barra Football Academy.
Jane, who has nurtured plenty of young stars in the country as a coach, noted that Gibril’s hard work and perseverance helped his growing bright career.
In his first season for Teungeuth FC, he helped the team in winning the Senegalese FA Cup before becoming a Senegalese league champion in his second year.
The CAF club champions league has been dominated by North African teams but Gibril is hopeful that his side will go far.
” We can go far in the competition and that is our target as a team and we would work towards it with zeal,” he said.
Gibril said he will be going into the competition with a bigger dream to be a champion.
Before Gibril’s team proceeded to the group stage, they edged out The Gambia Armed Forces before beating Raja Casablanca in the final preliminary round 3 -1 on penalty shootouts.
Teungueth FC are drawn in Group D in the CAF Champions League grouping alongside ES Tunis of Tunisia, Zamaleck Sc in Egypt, and an Algerian team, MC Alger
Champions league draw in full
The draw for the 2020/21 Total CAF Champions League Group Stage was done at CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on Friday 8 January 2021.
The draw, conducted by CAF Head of competitions Khlaed Nassar, assisted by Egypt’s legend Hossam Ghaly, produced some thrilling pairings in the way to the continent’s premier club competition’s finals.
Last season’s title holders Al Ahly of Egypt will face the opposition of AS Vita, Simba and El Merriekh.
Here are the groups: