By Momodou Jarju
The senior Scorpions of The Gambia didn’t need to wait until their last group match to ensure qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals’ last-16.
On Wednesday, after the 7 pm game between Nigeria and Guinea Bissau ended, the debutants were confirmed a spot in the second round of the continent’s flagship tournament. The Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated Guinea Bissau 2-0 and became the only team to register a maximum 9 points in the tournament.
“With the 1-1 draw against Mail, both teams are at least assured of finishing third in Group F with a minimum four points. With four of the six third place teams assured of a place in the next round, Comoros, who finished third in Group C and Sudan who took third in Group D with three and one points respectively, the duo cannot finish ahead of Gambia even if Tom Saintfiet’s side lost to Tunisia tomorrow. Congratulations to Gambia for making another history by qualifying to the knockout stages of the African Cup of Nations in their debut season,” the GFF explained on their Facebook platform.
The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) Facebook platform went lit when the news broke out. The players, coaching staff and GFF officials were seen jumping jolly gladly in a video lasting 12 minutes and 10 seconds and singing a legendary football song sung during the glorious days of the Scorpions’ under-17 team in 2005.
Congratulatory messages started to pour out from all corners of the Gambia and elsewhere, especially on social media. But for scores of Gambians, a win and/or draw in the last game was aimed at despite securing qualification.