The Africa Cup of Nations is not only an opportunity to enjoy national team football in the midst of the club season but also a chance to discover entirely new teams and players. One of such enigmatic teams is the Gambian national team, which we will discuss in this material.
The Gambian national team is certainly not among the main favorites of the tournament, but in a single match, they are capable of causing a sensation. You can place bets on Africa Cup of Nations matches on the website https://mostbetlive.com/az/.
Team’s Approach to the Tournament
This modest country, formerly known as British Gambia until 1965, will kick off the tournament with a match against the current continental champion, Senegal. Overall, the team has not been fortunate with the group draw, as on paper, all their opponents appear stronger than Gambia.
Gambia has been associated with some of the most stereotypical scandals in African football. In 2014, the national team was disqualified for two years due to age falsification of players. This decision deprived the team of the chance to participate in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (the tournament was postponed due to the Ebola virus, and Morocco withdrew from participation).
In 2022, Gambia, participating in the Africa Cup for the first time in history, exceeded all expectations by defeating Mauritania (1:0), Tunisia (1:0), and drawing with Mali (1:1). The team managed to accumulate 7 points, securing the second-place finish in the group. In the knockout stage, the “Scorpions” continued to surprise, eliminating Guinea. Only Cameroon managed to stop the sensational Gambia with a 2:0 victory in the quarterfinals. Interestingly, both opponents eliminated by Gambia in the knockout stage this year ended up in Gambia’s group.
Squad and Coaching Staff
The team is led by Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, who took over the “Scorpions” in the summer of 2018, shaping their history over the past five years. Their most significant achievement is the aforementioned quarterfinal appearance. However, advancing from the “group of death” in Ivory Coast this year could surpass their achievements from two years ago. Gambia’s weak form in 2023, losing surprisingly to Burundi (2:3) and to the hosts of the Africa Cup, Ivory Coast (0:2), in the World Cup 2026 qualification, could be a concern.
When it comes to the star players of Gambia, one cannot overlook Ablie Jallow. The striker is in his second season with Metz in France, scoring three times in the current season’s 12 matches. Ablie was the most effective player for his national team in the last tournament.
Promising players include Musa Barrow and Assan Ceesay, although they have redirected their careers to Saudi Arabia. The defender Omar Colley, playing for Turkish side Besiktas, has the most appearances for the national team, with 47 matches at the age of 31.
The “Scorpions” face a challenging task as predicting progression from a tough group, with Senegal, Cameroon, and Guinea as their opponents, is difficult. However, underdogs often advance from the group stage, as evidenced by Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup.