By Lamin Drammeh
The scorpions of the Gambia, delivered arguably their best performance away from home when they beat Central Africa Republic 2-1 in an exciting friendly match played in Port Noire, on Monday.
Striker Mustapha Carayol of The English championship side Nothingham Forest and winger Modou Barrow of Leeds United, scored in each half as Gambia crush to a hard fought win over their North African opponent in an eventful evening.
The powerful Leeds United, man, Barrow, scored his first international goal thanks to a delightful finish after brilliantly combining with Mustapha Carayol for Gambia’s opener.
The 24-year-old Barrow, then provided a clever pass to Carayol after connecting perfectly well with Trapani forward Lamin Jallow, for the scorpions second in style.
Mafota Lovisi pulled one back for his side between the two goals but his strike was not good enough to deliver the much needed outcome for the helpless Central Africa Republic, who also suffered similar defeat against Morocco prior to their meeting with Gambia.
The scorpions went into yesterday’s game on the back of a disappointing defeat to the Moroccan home based team, who beat them 2-1, much to the frustration of coach Sang Ndong.
But the former Hawks manager Sang, hugely criticised for his poor tactical approach and controversial team selection has every reason to celebrate his team’s superb performance as he produced arguably his best result in charge of the scorpions.
It was an opportunity for Carayol, to add another international cap to his name and he did it in a stunning fashion, taking maximum advantage of Barrow’s delivery. He lashes on to a fine direct ball from a close range. Within the twinkle of an eye, the lanky forward hammered home the decisive winner which took his international tally to three, the first of which came in their pulsating match against Mauritania last year.
The win means the scorpions will go into the opening qualifier fixture in a good shape.
They are also likely to leapfrog Central Africa Republic, who trailed them 71 places in the latest fifa rankings. Central Africa Republic sits at 108 places to 179 of that of the determined scorpions, who seem likely to move few steps ahead of them when the next fifa Coca-Cola, world rankings are released.
However, Sang and his inform Scorpions are scheduled to begin their qualifier campaign at home to Benin, in Port Novo, in June, 2017.
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 tournament gather pace.
Cameroon is chosen as the host nation for the AFCON championship that will feature some of the continent’s most recognizable footballers.