Boro flanker Muzzy Carayol is targeting the 2017 African Cup of Nations after committing his international future to the Gambia.
The 26-year-old wideman says ‘it’s the right time’ to pledge his allegiance to the African nation – although he admits there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders when he wins his first cap for the country who are currently 157th in the world rankings.
‘I think it’s been a long time coming, I’ve had a few times when they’ve invited me but it wasn’t the right time for myself and my family,’ he said.
‘A few of the times I’ve had a little injury. So I didn’t really want to come and perform half-heartedly. I feel like it’s the right time in my career now.
‘Obviously I’ve spoken to them. I’m looking forward to the official invite and look forward to representing the Gambia in the Africa Nations Cup qualifiers.
‘All my family’s Gambian, so everyone’s excited and I’m going to have a lot of pressure when I do get the chance to play.
‘But for me, it’s the experience of a professional footballer to go and represent your country. I’ve got quite a lot of support there already and I’ve not even played so hopefully I can live up to the hype when I do play and make a lot of people happy.’
Carayol was born in Banjul, in the Gambia, and wants to help the minnows qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations, although they’ve got quite the job on their hands after being grouped with South Africa and Cameroon in the qualifiers.
‘I always see challenges as something you can overcome and that’s why they put challenges in front of you,’ said Carayol.
‘At least even if we don’t qualify, everyone can be proud of us and say that we gave it a right go.
‘But for me personally, I’m looking more forward to the challenge of playing international football.’
Carayol admits he’s quizzed Boro teammate and Ghana winger Albert Adomah on African football as well as his close friend Yannick Bolasie, the in-form Crystal Palace winger who represented DR Congo at the recent Africa Cup of Nations.
‘They’ve all told me good things about playing African football, so I’m excited,’ he told BBC Africa Sport.
‘I can’t wait to get the chance to go and kick a ball out there and show everyone what I can do.’
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