AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Saidou Khan delighted with Maiden Gambia call-up

AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Saidou Khan delighted with Maiden Gambia call-up

Saidou Khan has expressed hie delight in getting called up to the Gambia national team for the very time, saying “it means “everything” to him.

The Swidon Town midfielder will be part of the Scorpions squad that will take on South Sudan in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Wednesday.

Khan was born in the Gambia but moved to the United Kingdom in 2010 at the age of 14, two years after his father’s death from cancer.

“It means everything,” Khan told BBC Radio Wiltshire.

“Growing up in Gambia the national team, I think back then, was everyone’s way out. All you think is I want to do well so I can play for the junior national team and do well for them and get scouted and go to Europe.

“It was everyone’s main dream to play for the national team.”

Khan was spotted by a Gambian scout that came to watch him play and never believed it would lead to him getting a national team call-up.

“The coach then called me [but] even then I thought there’s a lot of Gambian players abroad so it might not happen,” he continued.

“Later on, just a couple of days after the end of the season, I went to go and do some fitness with my friends and after the session I’ve gone on WhatsApp and seen I was in the Gambia national team group chat. I thought ‘wow’.”

Gambia sit third in Group G of the AFCON qualifiers behind Mali and Congo and ahead of South Sudan with two games left to play.

Khan began his football career playing in the lower leagues of the English football system until he joined National League sides Dagenham & Redbridge (on loan) and then Chesterfield in the National League in 2021.

He made the big step into the English Football League to play for League Two side Swidon during the 2023-23 season, playing 35 times, scoring one goal and providing one assist.

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