When you are enjoying your Starbuck's double tall non-fat this Saturday morning, spare a thought for Colorado Rapids' favorite, Bouna Coundoul. Bouna is currently in his native Senegal preparing for a crucial World Cup qualifier against Gambia which kicks off at 10am Mountain Time. Senegal have to win to have any chance of progressing to the next round of the marathon that is African World Cup qualifying. Why Africa with the same number of teams competing as Europe for a spot in South Africa 2010 should only have five teams that eventually make it while Europe has 13 still beggars belief but that is for another day.
As we all know, Bouna has been struggling in his professional life both for the Rapids and for the national team. He has not played for Colorado for several games now having lost his place in goal to Preston Burpo. He is also still firmly the number two with the national team and you would have to say, that with such a crucial game this weekend, he is unlikely to see any game time against Gambia. He told me last week at training that he would be going to Senegal to claim the starting position. There had been much criticism of the current goalkeeper, Tony Sylva, he said. Reading through the Senegal newspapers online, it is clear that there are defensive problems with the Senegal team. However, the interim head coach has said he is unlikely to change much for Saturday's clincher. Added to this that Bouna has not been playing much competitively recently and it looks as if his admirable optimism may be somewhat misplaced, for now at least. This is one talented goalkeeper who has found himself in a tough spot. I watched him play against Dallas Reserves and I've seen him in training and his form is excellent. He told me it had to do with fasting through Ramadan and, while his faith is all important to him, you know that it also has to do with a burning desire on Bouna's part to be the number one both at home and for his country. This weekend's game against Gambia and the few remaining games for the Rapids may not be quite the right time for him to get where he wants to be which makes it all the more likely that we may not see him at DSG Park come next Spring.