The Gambia U-20 National Football Team, Young Scorpions, will entertain Guinea in the second and final round of the African Youth Championship qualifiers in Conakry this weekend with a place in Zambia 2017 at stake.
The two sides drew goalless in Banjul a fortnight ago and the winner of Sunday’s game in the Guinean capital would join six other teams as well as the host country for a place in the eight-team biennial football jamboree.
Omar Sise’s charges are being described in many quarters as one of the brightest group of youth category players to have come out of The Gambia in recent years. The team has so far justified that tag by annihilating Sierra Leone 4-0 on aggregate over two legs in the preliminaries before triumphing on penalties over much-fancied Morocco in the second round following a 1-1 aggregate draw.
The Young Scorpions have been camped at the Seaview Gardens Hotel for over a week now in anticipation of the crucial encounter and are expected to live town in midweek for the game.
The four semifinalists would also qualify for the World Youth Championship in South Korea later that year. The Gambia has qualified to this category of the continental showpiece on two separate occasions having finished third in Congo in 2007 and been knocked out of the group stage of the 2011 championship in South Africa.
The Gambian side also featured in the second round of the U-20 World Cup in Canada in 2007 and was knocked out in the last 16 by Austria after extra-time having played the entirety of the extra 30 minutes with ten men following the sending off of defender Pierre Gomez. This crop of players would be hoping to go one step further but first have to negotiate their way over Guinea.
by Baboucarr Camara