Atalanta youngster Musa Barrow gets first Gambia call-up

By Momodou BahThe Gambia
Atalanta and The Gambia's Musa Barrow
Atalanta's Musa Barrow could make his debut for The Gambia against Algeria in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier

Atalanta's Musa Barrow has been handed a first call up by The Gambia's new Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet.

The 19-year-old is one of 17 foreign-based players in the Scorpions' squad for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at home to Algeria.

The young forward has been rewarded for his improving performances with the Italian Serie A side this year.

"His performance at Atalanta is impressive, and he's a better player in strong team," Saintfiet told BBC Sport.

"My experience all over the world is it's never bad to include young players.

"Young players are sometimes more eager to listen to the coach on the tactical discipline, they're more motivated they all want to show their ability."

Barrow began his career with Gambian side Hawks FC and made his senior debut for Atalanta in a 1-0 Coppa Italia loss to Juventus in January.

He went on to score three league goals for Atlalanta last season.

Saintfiet explained why he has included under-23 captain Ablie Jallow, who plays with French side Metz, in his squad.

"Ablie Jallow has less playing time at FC Metz but he's an alternative for the more experienced players in that position and he is also talented and I hope he can add something," the coach explained.

The biggest surprise was the omission of China-based striker Bubacarr Trawally despite scoring 18 times last season for Yanbian and adding another nine league goals for new club Guizhou Hengfeng.

The Gambia, who have never qualified for the Nations Cup, lost to Benin in their opening fixture in Cotonou last year and sit bottom of Group D alongside Togo who narrowly lost to Algeria.

Overseas-based players called up by The Gambia:

Goalkeepers: Modou Jobe (El Kanemi Warriors, Nigeria), Baboucarr Gaye (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany)

Defenders: Omar Colley (Sampdoria, Italy), Bubacarr Sanneh (FC Midtjylland, Denmark), Pa Modou Jagne (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Simon Richter and Dawda Ngum (BK Bronshoj, Denmark)

Midfielders: Sulayman Marreh (Watford, England), Ebou Adams (Ebbsfleet United, England), Hamza Barry (Hajduk Split, Croatia), Tijan Jaiteh (Al Markhiya, Qatar)

Forwards: Modou Barrow (Reading, England), Mustapha Carayol (Apollon Limassol, Cyprus), Lamin Jallow (Salernitana, Italy), Assan Ceesay (Lugano, Switzerland), Ablie Jallow (FC Metz, France), Musa Barrow (Atalanta, Italy)

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