The Gambia has defended its decision to use five players for their African Youth Championship preliminary round qualifier against Liberia at the weekend.
The Liberian Football Association appealed against Gambia’s usage of Buba Sanneh, Bubacarr Trawally, Saloum Faal, Ali Sowe and unused substitute Sampierre Mendy in Sunday’s 1-0 win for the young Scorpions with the allegation that the quintet were ineligible to feature in the game.
Gambian officials have confirmed using those players even though they were born in 1994 but their own interpretation of the regulations is that a player is eligible to participate in the “qualifiers” as long as they were less than 20 years at the time they participated in a particular match.
The GFF acknowledged that Sowe is the eldest of the recent batch of Gambian U-20 who will celebrate his 20th birthday in June, making him ineligible to participate further in the qualifiers, at which point he will be replaced.
“We are very much aware of the rules of this competition. We know that in the competition proper, all the players have to be born in 1995 but during the qualifiers, a player is eligible to play as long as he is less than 20. This is U-20 tournament and not U-19 so our players are eligible to play in the game,” Mr. Kebbe Touray of the GFF said.