By: Foday Manneh
The Gambia U20 team (young Scorpions) has been drawn in Group C, consisting of Tunisia, Benin, and 2017 champions Zambia, for the U20 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 in Egypt.
The 2021 Champions of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone A and semi-finalist of the last U20 AFCON, The Gambia, qualified for the 2023 edition in Egypt after reaching the finals of the WAFU A championship in Mauritania earlier in September 2022.
The young Scorpions will make their sixth appearance in the tournament, with their best performances coming from the 2007 and 2021 editions — finishing as bronze medalists in both times.
Reacting to the draws, the head coach of the U20 Scorpions, Abdoulie Bojang, said his team is in good preparation to face any opponent.
“It is a matter of hard work, and we have got the support from the federation to prepare better and get to the competition. The Gambia is not a small team in this competition, so that we will defend our flag,” Coach Bojang said.
The team also has plans to conduct a few preparatory friendlies ahead of the 12-team tournament.
“We have sent a proposal to the federation for us to have an International friendly match in Morocco. We are told they are working on it. So, probably in February, we will have that done and get closer to Egypt,” he said.
On the issue of invitations to foreign players, Bojang said he plans to enforce his offensive line with a few foreign-based players, and the rest of his squad will constitute home-based footballers.
“We want to have three or four of them from abroad to add more weight on the team, but other than that, we want to focus more on home-based players,” the coach declared.
“We wanted to qualify for the World Cup, so bringing those foreign players will help in terms of quality,” Bojang added.