The five players dropped from the Black Starlets' camp could make a return only if their replacements fail to make the mark.
“The players we dropped are still being monitored since they are still engaged in club activities. We will have to fall on them once their replacements fail to meet the required standard,” Coach Fred Osam-Duodu said.
Osam-Duodu is currently training 26 players, 13 of them new to the squad that played and won bronze at the African championship in Togo in March, and said his final squad of 21 for Korea would be named only some few days before they finally leave for the World Cup, hopefully by the second week of August.
But the coach maintains that the return of Gwala Pero, former skipper Benjamin Osei, goalkeeper David Hoenyedzie, UK-based forward Kelvin Bossman and defender Moses Otiboe is not as important as the quality of preparation needed to make a positive impact at the Korea Under-17 football World Cup.
In an interaction with media persons at the team's camping base at the C.K. Gyamfi Sports College at Winneba, Coach Osam-Duodu said he was hoping that his preparation programme, which includes a training tour of the United Kingdom and participation in an eight-nation tournament also in Korea ahead of the main event, would receive the necessary backing to put the team in good stead of winning their third world title.
“The question of adequate preparation is not negotiable. All the other countries are touring Europe and other areas, playing quality sides and training with good facilities. We cannot expect the best under our present conditions,” insisted the experienced coach, under whose guidance The Gambia reached their first world cup in any football championship at the 2005 Under-17 tournament in Peru.
He appealed for sponsorship from corporate bodies and other philanthropists to assist the bronze medalists at the African championship in Togo undertake their programmes in Europe and elsewhere.
“We need the support of all those who care to enable us execute our programmes,” he prayed.
While the eight-nation tournament has already received official endorsement, it is uncertain which other specific events on Osam-Duodu's programme list would receive the necessary backing before the tournament which starts on August 18 in Korea.
“I am working on some ideas with UEFA for sponsorship to enable us carry out some of our plans,” he said.
Story by Michael Quaye