SANDY, Utah —Abdoulie Mansally returned to RSL training on Wednesday after spending a little over a week away representing his country of Gambia. And although his team was throttled 3-0 by the Ivory Coast in a World Cup qualifier last Saturday, the 24-year-old was an important piece of the Scorpions lineup and was happy about the opportunity he had.
"It was so much fun," he said following training on Tuesday. "It was fun to get back and play with the group of guys that I grew up playing with on the national team. To get back and talk to them about how their teams are doing and just to be back together. It was a great time and good experience.
Mansally said the travel was tough, 16 hours each way, but it could have been much worse had they "been going to South Africa or something." But after getting back Monday, he is already close to being over the jet-lag and is ready to contribute to RSL. He said the main thing he brings back with him is confidence.
"After going over there and playing against players like [Manchester City’s] Yaya Toure or [Arsenal’s] Gervinho, players that play with some of the top clubs in the world, and being able to be on the field with them, and I thought we were playing right along with them in the first half, you gain a lot of confidence that you can play with the best in the world. I come back here more confident that I can do a better job because I went and played against some of those guys.”
A left back for RSL, Mansally had a different role while with his national team, playing attacking midfield for the Gambians during both a friendly win against Niger and against the Ivory Coast in the qualifier.
"I played mainly between the forwards and the midfield," he said. "It was a little different than when I am here, but when they asked me to play there, I said I thought I could do it. It was fun being involved in the attack more, but I am always just happy to play wherever a team needs me."
RSL will certainly put Mansally back in his position at left back and not play him in the attacking midfield spot he filled, but he is ready and willing anywhere they want him.
"I just want to play," he said. "I think I proved I can play with anyone. Now, I am just happy to be back and ready to help the team."