Scorpions face Burundi for road to World cup 2026 


By Baboucarr Fallaboweh

The scorpions of the Gambia will face Burundi on Thursday before playing against Ivory Coast on the 20th of November all in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Tom Saintfiet who led the Gambia to back-to-back Nations Cup will be hoping to take the Gambia to the dream land in 2026.

The scorpions have shaken off injury panic with defensive duo Omar Colley and Noah Sonko named in the 23-man squad. Noah Sonko played 23 mins in Ludogorets 3-0 win over Etar. Another massive boast is that Saidy Janko is back to the fold after the Swiss born missed out against South Sudan and Mali.


Gambia U20 midfielder Mahmudu Bajo is the only new addition as the Belgian retains the core of his team. The midfielder got the nod ahead of Saikou Touray and Jesper Ceesay to replace Sulayman Marr.

Current Form

Burundi missed out a place for the Nations Cup by finishing 3rd behind Cameroon and Namibia. In the last two years, they have played against Indonesia and Ivory, winning one and losing two while they are ranked 142 in the world.

Predictable Line-up

Can Tom attack and delopy Ablie Jallow as number Ten? Baboucarr Gaye is set to start his 14th match in a row, despite getting fewer minutes in his club. Gaye has established himself to be Gambia’s number One.

Saidy Janko will play right-back if the Scorpions play a back four. If they opt for a back three, he will play as wing back. Ismaila Jome will deputize in the absent of Ibou Touray. Jackob Mendy would have suited it but Tom goes with more experience. Even, Dawda Ngum might be slotted in the left-back role.

Coach Etienne usually goes with a 3-5-2 attacking formation.

Captain Saido Berahino is not named in the squad. A player to keep an eye on is 21 years midfielder Jospin Nshimirimana. He has 8 goals in 12 games and plays for Yeni Malatyaspor in the Turkish 2nd tier. 

Christophe Nduwarugira who features for Academico Visue in Portugal is the most capped player in their squad with 42 caps scoring 7 goals.

Frédéric Nsabiyumva had an inceidible season with Västerås who are currently promoted to the Allsvenskan. Upfront is Simba’s Saidi Ntibazonkiza


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Baboucarr Fallaboweh
Baboucarr Fallaboweh Sports Editor (Buba Jallow Fallaboweh) is a Gambian football expert, football analyst & columnist. The Stockholm-based Journalist is a media officer, football Scout, PR, Influencer and Digital creator. I started my journalism career as a football analyst in 2012 with Vibes FM and went on to work with CityLimit, West Coast, Hot FM, Freedom Radio, Eye Africa and Afri Radio as a content producer and presenter. In 2013, I attended Football Daily on the BBC SPORTS where we discussed the different styles of Football played in Africa. I Went on to freelance for The Point Newspaper, Freedom Newspaper, Daily Observer and Standard Newspaper before being appointed as Sports Editor with the Alkamba Times in March 2022.  I have worked for Magazines like Glo Magazine and Foot54 covering Gambian football and African Football.   Between 2020 -2021 I worked as a scout for the Gambia Football Federation, scouting talents for the U17 &U20.  From 2017 to 2021, I served as Media officer for GFF First division teams Team Rhino and Marimoo and also as media Officer of Banjul FC, fourth Division tier in Sweden and Darboe’s FC (Female second division club in the Gambia). I served as a PR for Superstars Academy.   With Afrencon, I was a data analyst before I joined LightHouse as a head scout for the Gambia project. In organizational structures, I served as the ambassador of the John Bass Kidney Foundation and one of the founders of the foundation creating kidney awareness in the Gambia.   I also served two positions in the Gambian organization in Sweden, as Sports chairman and the secretary of the associations.   After 12 years of being a football journalist, I was named 3rd best sports column writer in Africa year 2021 by the reputable sports media organization AIPS. I finished in the top 35 in the world with my article titled Back way: Gambian footballers in deadly Voyage to Europe.   With over 500 articles and interviews, analysis, profiling, features and news, I was shortlisted for the Gambia Press Union National Journalist Award 2022. I submitted the article which was co-written alongside Momodou Bah From Living Through Despair to Being An Agent Of Hope, The Inspiring Story Of John Bass.   I have served as an advisers to Football academies, clubs, and players and others. I have hosted dozens of shows and was invited as a guest on both radio, TV and the online press. I also covered the Gambia's maiden AFCON debut in 2021 in Cameroon.  


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