The young lions of Senegal beat their neighbours from The Gambia to lift their first ever U20 AFCON title. The West African side qualified into the final with a one hundred percent record, having won all their matches without conceding a goal.
Senegal U20s were playing their fourth U20 AFCON final having finished runners-up in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Senegal broke the deadlock after six minutes through Sulaymane Faye’s header; the Gambian defence failed to deal with Pape Diallo’s cross which allowed Faye to head into an empty net.
Senegal then doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart through RS Berkane midfielder Mamadou Camara. Camara guided home a corner after some questionable defending. In truth Senegal dominated the game from start to finish and ran out deserved winners.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Gambian
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 10/05/2004
- Current club: Fortune
- Career: Fortune
- Position: Centre Back
- Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Moses Jarju’s name might sound familiar, especially if you are a Football Manager nerd, like myself. The young Gambian centre back’s signing has proven to be incredibly popular in this year’s game and has made many people pay attention to him. Jarju lined up as the right sided centre back of Gambia’s 4-2-3-1 formation in this game. There is no official record available online of Jarju’s exact height but I would say he is between 1.8m – 1.85m, while he’s not an absolute hulk, he is reasonably tall with an athletic physique. Jarju could work on his jumping reach as he was beaten in the air by Senegal’s striker for their first goal, I get the overall sense that he is lacking in explosive power which would be beneficial in these situations. He was strong in the duels though, frequently recovering the ball for his team.
The Gambian showcased good technical abilities throughout the game, though his first touch did let him down on a couple of occasions. When playing out from the back he is calm and composed on the ball and able to pick out a pass to a teammate. There wasn’t really a licence for him to dribble out from defence in this game as it was a pretty cagey affair with it being a final. Tactically, Moses Jarju came into his own, he displayed great positioning throughout the match, often acting as the covering defender, he knew exactly where needed to be to make vital interceptions. It is worth noting that on several occasions, his body orientation failed him when dealing with crosses.
Jarju remained calm and composed throughout, even when things were going against his team. He appears to be someone who does not anger quickly and is level headed when on the pitch. Although Jarju has enjoyed a stellar tournament at centre back for Gambia, I think with his skillset, he might be more suited to a defensive midfield role going forward. His tactical and technical abilities are there and he has the capabilities to shine in the role.
Rating – A2
Moses Jarju is a very good player, time will tell if he can develop beyond that but he enjoyed an excellent AFCON U20s tournament. The future is bright for Gambian football.
Modou Lamin Marong
- Nationality: Gambian
- Age: 17
- Date of birth: 27/11/2005
- Current club: GD Interclube Luanda U19
- Career: GD Interclube Luanda U19
- Position: Centre Forward
- Secondary Position: Right Wing, Left Wing.
- Preferred foot: Right
If you haven’t heard of Modou Lamin Marong, don’t worry, I wasn’t aware of him until I started watching this tournament. His performances caught my eye which is why I felt the need to highlight him in this scout report. His talent is rather unquestionable as he has been called up to play for the U20s at the age of 17. Marong lined up on the left wing of Gambia’s 4-2-3-1 formation. The youngster is quite a dominating presence by his height and athletic nature. He frequently showcased his strength to hold the ball up and but unfortunately when carrying possession, he was easily hurried off the ball.
The Gambian starlet possesses good pace when accelerating and is comfortable when dribbling, he frequently looks to beat his opponent, even when there are teammates in better positions and a pass to them would be much more sufficient. I think this is something that can largely be put down to youthfulness and a desire to impress; a trap many young players fall into. As he gets more mature it’s likely Marong will learn that he isn’t obliged to do everything, all of the time. When he is in possession though, there is a spark of energy, you get the sense that he is a player that could produce that little bit of magic when required. He loves to cut in from the wing, throughout the game Marong and Drammeh would switch sides.
Marong displayed good tactical awareness, he was willing to track back and help out defensively. He displayed good awareness in the duels and frequently came away with the ball. There was a tendency to drift more narrow throughout the game, reverting to his natural tendencies as a centre forward. The only real cause for concern for Marong was that he did let his frustrations get the better of him on several occasions. When Gambia lost possession or a pass didn’t quite reach him, he would flail his arms in the air which was a detriment to his team. That being said, he is only 17, so with the right coaching and guidance, these issues can easily be resolved.
Rating – A2
Marong is an excellent young player, certainly one to watch out for in the future. He has the classic abilities of an inverted winger which is where I think he may end up playing in the future. For now though, he is a diamond in the rough.