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In life, one sometimes faces obstacles so illogical that you are unsure whether the correct response is to laugh or cry.


One day, you know the bizarre episode would make hilarious dinner conversation-only that day is not yet at hand and you cannot help but feel miserable and frustrated.

Just ask 28-year-old Trinidad and Tobago defender Brent Sancho.

Last weekend, Sancho celebrated a successful outing with England League One team, Gillingham, as they edged promotion hopefuls, Swansea, 1-0 at home. The three points pinched against Swansea added to those gained from their 3-2 win over Brentford was enough for Gillingham to climb five places and four points above the relegation zone.

Sancho played a crucial role for the "Gulls" in both fixtures. But, after a happy Saturday evening, the defender will again spend his weekdays wondering if he will be in the squad for their upcoming fixture.

"I expect the unexpected these days," Sancho told the Trinidad Express.

"I honestly don't know (if I will play on Saturday). I was playing well before and then got benched so I won't be counting my chickens." Sancho's inability to hold down a starting place seems to have little to do with his worth on the field although one would think that Gillingham manager Ronnie Jepson could hardly afford such a gamble with the club tottering close to the relegation trapdoor.

But Sancho knows how poorly his employers regard him following a wretched start to 2006. Initially confined to the reserve team, the defender got a lifeline when Gillingham accepted a loan offer for the player by Swansea.

Sancho had already moved to the Wales-based club when the clubs fell out over the fineprint and Gillingham ordered the player to make the five-hour drive back to Kent to play in a meaningless reserve game that same same night. He complied; only to discover, on his return, that the reserve match was cancelled.

If Sancho stifled a laugh, a week later, as Gillingham fell 6-0 away to Bristol City on March 18, he would have only been human. It was the club's seventh straight outing without a win.

Injury and suspension cost Jepson two central defenders for his next fixture and he was down to just his two Trinidad and Tobago stoppers, Ian Cox and Sancho. They both started on March 21 and Sancho scored at the right end, after just nine minutes, as Gillingham pulled off a 3-2 win over Brentford.

"It was an unbelievable feeling," said Sancho, as he recalled the euphoria of his headed goal. "I went crazy and the fans were singing my name." Cox and Sancho started again on March 25 as Gillingham recorded its first clean sheet since January 14 in a 1-0 win over Swansea. The last time the club won on successive weekends was last August.

In the Swansea match program, Gillingham chairman Paul Scally congratulated the player on his performance against Brentford and offered him best wishes for the June World Cup.

It was a big turnaround by Scally, who vowed that Sancho would never play for Gillingham again after he left to represent Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup Play Off against Bahrain without the club's blessing last November.

Perversely, Sancho insisted that he was still in love with Gillingham because of the unwavering support of its fans.

"If it wasn't for the support from the fans," he said, "and my family, friends, teammates and agent, I don't know how I would have gotten through this period.

"I think all the trials have made me a stronger person on and off the pitch." Jepson, who has not made any public pronouncements on the player, still has to show that the love is requited.

Sancho joined Gillingham from relegated Scotland Premier League team Dundee last August under then boss Neale Cooper. Jepson, Cooper's assistant, inherited the managerial position when Cooper resigned last November.

Although Sancho is desperate to do well this June at the World Cup in Germany, he also wants to sort out his club career by the summer and hopes to fulfill his immediate ambitions with Gillingham.

"My target is to play and start for Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup," he said, "and also to play in the remaining games for Gillingham this season and help them to safety." Hopefully, Jepson will give him the opportunity.