By: Bubacarr Fallaboweh
The Gambia survived an early scare from Congo Brazzaville as they came from 2-0 down to record a pulsating 2-2 draw with the Central African country in Morocco to book their place on the 2023 AFCON slated for Cote D’Ivoire next January.
The Gambia netter two late goals courtesy of Yankuba Minteh and Muhammed Badomesi to finish second in Group F with 10 points.
The Gambia needed only to avoid a defeat against the Red Devils to make it to the AFCON for the second time in history, and they did just that despite being poor earlier in the game on Sunday night.
The Congolese started impressively, created all the chances in the first half, and broke the deadlock with a deserved lead through Makouta in the 30th minute.
They followed it up with the second goal in the 42nd minute through Ganvoula, though the goal looked questionable.
Gambia coach Tom Sainfieit made changes immediately after the break as he searched for a response.
Ablie Jallow replaced Alasana Manneh, while Yankuba Minteh came in for Ebrima Colley.
Jallow’s presence was felt as he drove the scorpions for a comeback. His introduction made the Gambia to go all out. His contribution was immense as he fired a shot on target before setting up Musa Barrow, whose effort went into the skies.
Minteh, who was making his second appearance for the Scorpions, connected well with a flick by Badamoesi to start the comeback in the 79th minute.
The Gambia was denied a penalty when the ball struck the hands of the Congolese defender, but the Egyptian referee waved played on.
Badamoesi Muhammed Sanneh were all thrown into the fray by replacing Noah Sonko and Ebou Adams.
Badomoesi scored a header from Musa Barrow’s cross in the 90th minute, leaving the Congolese miserable and sad. They rued their missed chances, especially that of Makouana.
The Gambia completed the Qualifiers on Sunday and will be in Cote d’Ivoire for a second consecutive time in their history.