Grouo D: Jagne's bitter-sweet Gambia dream

Pa Jagne
Jagne's club career has been solely based in Switzerland since 2007 - but he is now without a side

Long-term Gambia captain Pa Modou Jagne has said it is "not a wish I wanted" that he could lose his place in the national side just as they have their best ever chance of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time.

Jagne was first capped in 2008 and has featured regularly for the Scorpions over the 13 years since.

The defender was Gambia's most experienced player In the squad for their last matches, against Gabon in November 2020. But having been such a stalwart, Jagne has not played for a club team for nearly a year after FC Zurich did not renew his contract - and he now finds himself at risk of being out of the national side just as they are finally coming good.

"This is not a wish I wanted - I want to be playing and be fit and play for my country," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"If you are not playing for a long time, there's a risk that you'll not be called and someone else will take your place. I think that will be the case.

"But in the end, that is the decision of the coach."

Having never made the Cup of Nations finals before, Gambia have been in strong form in qualifying for Cameroon 2022.

They lead Group D with only two games left to play, starting with a home match to bottom-placed Angola, who have only one point from four matches so far.

But heartbreakingly for Jagne - who has played almost all of his career in Switzerland, with FC Wil, St Gallen and Sion before Zurich - his lack of regular football has put his place in the national team in deep jeopardy.

Jagne said it was the "dream for every footballer" to play in a big tournament.

"I would love to qualify and to see my family and my two kids witness that," he said.

"I hope - I am still dreaming - that this year we will qualify. It is not yet done but we still believe that we will do it.

"Whether I am there or not, I believe the boys can still do it. They have the same belief and determination that I have, so they will go out and fulfil the dream of the whole of Gambia as a nation."