Scorpions steal point in Durban


By Sulayman Bah Celebration-gripped Gambian players after the matchGambian players after the match Gambia picked up their first point of the Gabon qualifiers after holding off hosts South Africa on Saturday. Scorpions played out a hard fought goalless draw at the Moses stadium in Durban, one of the 2010 World Cup hosting venues, in a match thatkicked off five hours later than the scheduled time as the officiating Madagascan referees turned up late. A completely new set of players held out for this one-all draw match against Uganda thus leading fans to express hope that Raoul Savoy will be sticking to his new guns as the Gambia returns to proper senior international competition following the lifting of its suspension from Caf. Despite the wishes, the Swiss-born Gambian gaffer opted for experience instead with Modou Barrow and Pa Amat Dibba being the only fresh inclusions. South Africa nonetheless did not only make home support to count but were also dominating from start to finish over a Gambian team which chose to retreat to the back foot. For the Scorpions’ exclusive defensive play, it meant a busy schedule for goalkeeper Alagie Modou Jobe, the Niarry Tally FC net-minder, who was preferred over the Finnish-born Gambian mate Sam Jammeh, lived up to the billing by preventing onslaughts unleashed by the rampaging hosts. With Jobe proving reliable, the Ousman Koli, Omar Colley, Abdou Jammeh and Pa Modou Jagne back-four set up formed a solid defence that ensured there was no faltering. Notwithstanding, SA had a go at the visitors, forcing Jobe, in an early scare, with a free-kick that sent the ball between his legs but which luckily went out of play for a corner kick. South Africa’s best chance arguably came two minutes from time when Ntshangase, with only the Gambian keeper between him and the post, rifled the ball the dismay of a 20,000 fans. Gambia was denied a penalty when a South African defender appeared to handle the ball in the box from a Modou Barrow’s shot. Striker Pa Dibba had a single chance but chose to connect to Modou Barrow with goal at his mercy eventually settling for a goalless affair. Gambia’s next match will be against Cameroon in September.]]>