Tuesday, May 28, 2024

AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Gambia Wins First Leg Edges Out Chad

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The Gambia took Africa by storm this year when reaching the Cup of Nations quarter-finals. yesterday the scorpions edged Chad 1-0 in their first step toward reaching the 2023 finals.

The Scorpions left it late in Yaounde with United Arab Emirates-based forward Steve Trawally scoring in the 89th minute to win the preliminary round first leg.

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The Gambia, a small west African country surrounded by Senegal, made a spectacular Cup of Nations debut two months ago, beating Mauritania, Tunisia and Guinea before losing a last-eight clash with hosts Cameroon.

Before tackling Chad, Belgium-born Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet warned his players to avoid becoming “one-tournament wonders”.

“We want to qualify for the 2023 and 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2026 World Cup,” said the coach who has guided national teams in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

He cited the example of Madagascar, newcomers who stunned Nigeria when reaching the 2019 Cup of Nations quarter-finals in Egypt only to miss out on the latest edition.

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Chad hosted Gambia in the Cameroon capital because the landlocked central African does not have a stadium that meets international standards.

Gambia is also affected by a Confederation of African Football (CAF) clampdown on venues with sub-standard pitches, dressing rooms or facilities and will stage the return match on Tuesday in Morocco.

Mauritius is the only nation among the 10 in the preliminary round that has been permitted to play at home.

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