By: Bubacarr Fallaboweh
The Fifa World Cup 2026 African Preliminaries qualifiers draw was conducted in Abidjan today, Thursday, 13th July, where CAF also had its 45th Ordinary Assembly. In pot four, the Gambia were drawn against Ivory Coast, Gabon, Kenya, Burundi, and Seychelles in Group F.
The Gambia lost to Angola in the 2022 qualifiers and has only four wins as the World Cup qualifiers are concerned.
The Gambia, currently ranked 119th globally and 29th in Africa, needs a point against Congo to return to the continental showpiece following their 2021 debut in Cameroon.
The Belgium-based gaffer Tom Saintfiet spoke to the Alkamba Sports Desk about preparations for the game.
“Naturally, the main focus is against Congo Brazzaville. We need one point. It will be challenging even if we are in a good position. It will be fantastic if we qualify twice since only a few debutants, including Burundi, Comoros, and Madagascar, can do that. It will be something unique. The main goal and dream is going to the Worldcup. It won’t be easy, but we are happy it’s the group stage. We need luck, we have good players, but many African countries have good players too. You could have a group with Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, and Congo Brazzaville. We hope for the best; we know only one team will qualify.”
He added: “We have proven competitive and strong against opponents. We hope more of our players will sign before the summer ends. So that they get game time and develop themselves, the national team’s strength is the development of the players at club level.”
Winners of each group will qualify automatically for the FIFA World Cup 2026. At the same time, the four best runners-up from the groups will play in a CAF playoff tournament. The winner of the CAF playoff tournament will play in the FIFA playoff tournament.
Matchdays 1 and 2 will be played between 13-21 November 2023. The 2026 Worldcup will occur in Canada, Mexico, and the USA.