Gambia Qualifies for First Ever AFCON Finals
History was made today as The Gambia qualified for the African Cup of Nations finals for the first time in its history. Assan Ceesay scored the all-important goal after the hour to give the Scorpions a 1-0 win at Bakau’sIndependence Stadium.
The Gambia now has 10 points from five matches, levelled at the top of Group D with Gabon, who thumped the Democratic Republic of Congo 3-0 in Franceville atthe same time. Tom Saintfiet’s charges and the Panthers now established an unassailable four-point lead point lead over third place Congo with one match remaining, thus guaranteeing their respective spots in next winter’s tournament in Cameroon.
Latching onto a rebound, Assan Ceesay, who scored his third goal of the qualifiers, all coming against the Palancas Negras in two matches, tap into an empty net after the Angolan keeper fumbled an Ablie Jallow shot following a Steve Trawally cross from the right.
The Gambia is the first team in African football history to start from the preliminaries and secure a place at an AFCON final. The team will now travel to Kinshasa on Saturday for Monday’s dead rubber encounter with the Leopards with top spot in the group at stake. By the time the tournament gets underway in Cameroon next January, it would’ve been almost 70 years since the start of association football in The Gambia. With history been made and an entire nation behind the team, the Scorpions will be keen to break further records.
This is a national effort, with the support of all stakeholders from the government to the public, but for the Gambia Football Federation leadership, six years of hard-work, patience, perseverance, commitment and determination has finally paid off. And together with Head Coach Tom Saintfiet, been the first Coach to secure us that elusive place at the continental level, their names, will forever be etched in the Gambian history.
For the GFF Media, this is Baboucarr Camara