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 The Gambia’s Under 20s reach final in 2018 WAFU

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 04 May 2018 : 08:36:38
by Omar Jatta - 05/03/2018

The Gambia’s Under 20s have secured a place in the 2018 West African Football Union (WAFU) cup finals in Liberia, after seeing-off the Young Elephants of Ivory Coast with 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory in the Liberian capital, Monrovia on Wednesday afternoon.

The side under the stewardship of young Gambian Coach Matarr A Mboge, triumphed over the Ivoirians in a penalty shoot-out, after drawing one all in the normal time of play. The Gambians’ skipper, Basirou Mbye gave the team a well deserved lead in the second half of the fiercely contested encounter at 35000 capacity seated Samuel K Doe stadium in Paynesville, Monrovia, just moments after coming out from the half-time, following a goalless first half.

The Ivorians came back with an equaliser half way through the second half to force the game to be decided by a penalty shoot-out, which Gambia came out on top with a 6-5 score line, to set up a tasty final with the tournament’s hosts Liberia at the SKD stadium on Saturday, 5 May 2018, who also triumphed 1-0 over Mali in the day’s other semi-final clash, for their first ever final in a major international competition in over three decades.

Interestingly Liberia were thumped 3-0 by Ivory Coast in front of the country’s new president, George Weah in their opening game of the competition, and now the team guided by former Arsenal forward, Christopher Wreh, will have to negotiate their way past the junior Scorpions if they are to avoid the same fate as in their opening game.

The final will be the Gambia’s second in the completion, although the last one ended in controversy, where the Gambian camp decided to pull out of the 2015 final against the hosts Senegal in Mbour.

That decision came after a mistake from the tournament’s organisers, who initially misinformed the teams that the game will proceed srraight to a penalty shoot-out after 90 minutes if it could not be decided in normal time, only for them to revert that decision after the fulltime whistle, citing there was an error in their initial information, as the rule book required an extra-time before penalty shoots. A decision which angered The Gambians, for which they refuse to play and Senegal were crowned winners.

However, WAFU Secretary General, Mr Jammeh Bojang later admitted their mistake in the controversy, saying:

”We made the mistake during the technical meeting where it was stated that if it’s a tie after normal time, penalties will decide the winner – but we realised that the tournament regulations requires extra time and we engaged the Gambian side after normal time but they refused to play”.

However, other officials blamed The Gambia, as Liberian match commissioner Murvee Gray explained:that the need for the game to go into extra-time after a tie is clearly stated in the rules, which he said was handed to all the team’s prior to competition.

‘At the beginning of each competition, everyone gets the regulations and we received ours written in English. It explains at the end of regulation time, there will be extensions of twice 15 minutes and if there is still a tie, we move to the series of penalties”

The Gambia has also done well in youth football, but inexplicably that success has not been replicated in the senior level, where they still to qualify for a CAF or FIFA recognised major tournament.

The country enjoyed its first glory at youth level when they beat Ghana 1-0 in the final of the U-17 African Youth Championship in 2005 at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, under the guidance of the late Ghanaian coach Fred Osam-Duodu, who then guided the team which included some of the current senior team players, the likes of Pa Modou Jagne, Abdoulie Kenny Mansally, Momodou Ceesay and Ousman Jallow and others to qualify for the Youth World Cup –Peru in thesane 2005, where they beat Brazil 3-1 in the opening game, with goals from Abdoulie Kenny Mansally, Momodou Ceesay and Ousman Jallow. Although they were eliminated after losing to Holland 2-0.

The team missed out on the chance to defend their title in 2007, after failing to the qualify for the Youth Championship in Burkina Faso, when they got beaten by Senegal in the qualifiers. However, after beating Ghana U-17 team in the qualifiers, they were back in the competition in Algeria 2009, for their third U-17 Youth Championship appearances, where they beat the hosts Algeria 3-1 in the final.

And this latest triumph is another mark of the Gambia’s prowess in youth football, however the big challenge now is for those at the helm of games administration to ensure this youthful glories are transferred into senior team, a territory we have always failed for almost five decades. This can only be done by putting I place modules that’s can allow this players to make that transition from the youth level to the seniors without dropping their abilities.

2   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Momodou Posted - 08 May 2018 : 13:53:27
Congrats U-20 for the victory

The Point Editorial: Tuesday, May 08, 2018

We wish to congratulate the U-20 National team for their brilliant performance in the just concluded WAFU U-20 Tournament last Saturday in which they emerged champions without succumbing to defeat.

The boys have shown that with much needed support, the country has the potential to do and achieve great things in sports. However, congratulation also goes to Coach Matar Mboge, his technical team and GFF officials. The winning of the WAFU tournament is a big boost for Gambian football as we have not in a long time received such glory.

The previous glory was the U-17 in 2005 and 2009 when we were crowned African champions. It is the duty and responsibility of the government to provide preparation for our national teams including clubs representing the country in international competitions.

Government should task parastatals, GSM operators to step in for the development of football. Our footballers and all other athletes should be rewarded and get free education, health care and incentives like bonuses whenever they win international matches.

As we used to say in sports, particularly football is no longer leisure but business. With football, we can earn a lot of foreign exchange - Brazil for example. Sports in general should be looked into and be given due consideration. All school students from nursery to university should be active in doing sports which is not only good for their health but prosperity and wealth if they are committed.

The national conference should be held to look at all the problems of sports in general to be addressed but the key issue is to get money to sponsor them.

Once again, the government should motivate the U-20 which made us proud. We advise authorities whenever the national team travels; it is very important that they are accompanied by a doctor, journalists and a referee. The media is the most important partner and should not be left out whenever there are tournaments or international matches.

Government should be responsible to pay air tickets, perdiems to footballers and officials like many African countries are doing now in support of sports.

We would like to thank President George Weah of Liberia for giving the Gambian players $10,000

“Work hard, play hard, victory is yours”
The Point
Momodou Posted - 05 May 2018 : 23:20:51


Gambia won 2-1 over Liberia and became champions

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