By Lamin Drammeh
The scorpions of the Gambia recently made a tremendous improvement in the latest Fifa Coca-Cola World rankings released last week. They have moved up to 166 from the previous place of 179, recording a significant 13 places advantage in the process.
This is indeed a massive improvement and significant boost for the scorpions who beat Central Africa Republic 2-1 in a breathtaking friendly encounter played in Port Noire, last month. The results have seen them maintain their previous record of 49 in the continental rankings released by Caf on Thursday.
Leeds United, midfielder Modou Barrow, scored his first international goal thanks to a delightful finish. The 24-year-old Barrow, nicknamed MO, combined brilliantly with Mustapha Carayol for Gambia’s opener in a well executed build up from the far right.
It was a golden opportunity for the English-born Gambian soccer star Carayol, to add another international goal to his name. And he did it in dramatic fashion, taking maximum advantage of Barrow’s clever delivery. MO connected spectacularly with Trapani winger Lamin Jallow to set up Carayol for his second (2), goal in a scorpions shirt.
The former Leeds United and Bristol Rovers danger man Carayol, nicknamed, Muzzy, scored in his debut appearance in a pulsating match against Mauritania last year.
Carayol, who recently complete a January transfer move from Middlesbrough, when he became a free agent, lashed on to a direct ball from a close range. Within the blink of an eye, the pacy footballer now on loan with the English championship side Nothingham Forest, hammered home a decisive winner. Much to the delight of embattled coach Sang Ndong who went into the game on the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Morocco in Rabat, a week ago.
Mafota Lovisi pulled one back for his side between the two goals but his strike was not good enough to deliver the much needed result for the helpless Central Africa Republic, who also suffered similar defeat against Morocco, a forth night ago.
Allowing the scorpions to hold onto a deserved win and secure what appeared to be their first victory in as many international matches.
It was also the first friendly international victory match for Coach Sang Ndong since taking charge of the scorpions.
The former Hawks gaffer Sang, hugely criticised for his poor tactical approach and controversial team selection, replaces former coach Raul Savoy, who parted company with the scorpions folowing strings of dismal performances.
Central Africa Republic, still gained massive advantage over Gambia in the latest rankings in Africa, trailing them 12 places on 37 to 49 of that of the scorpions.
Gambia’s close neighbors Senegal who sits in the 30th place globally, occupied 2 spot in Africa behind first (1), place holders Egypty, with Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Congo Dr, Tunisia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Morocco completing the rankings for the top 10 in Africa.
Sang and his charges are scheduled to begin their qualifier campaign for the 2019 nations cup finals at home to Benin, in Port Novo, in June.
They are pitted in group D of the qualifiers alongside Benin,Togo and Algeria, as the battle to win qualification to the 32nd edition of the caf orange african nations cup tournament gather momentum.
Cameroon is chosen as the host nation for the 16-team tournament which is expected to feature some of the continent’s most decorated footballers.