Gambia – Team guide, key players and full fixtures

The Scorpions of Gambia will be one of two debutants in Cameroon after their historic qualification in March.

The team started their campaign in the preliminary stage in October 2019 and finished top of their qualifying group, which included higher-ranked and acclaimed opponents in Gabon, DR Congo and Angola.

The coach and tactical approach 

Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet has turned around the fortunes of the Scorpions since his appointment in July 2018. 

Despite his successes, Saintfiet has been heavily criticised for his style of play and his selection criteria. His preference is for a 4-2-3-1 that is about keeping things tight and attacking quickly, often with long, direct play into the final third. 

The history 

This is the Scorpions’ first-ever appearance at AFCON, even though it first entered the qualification process in 1976.

Key players

Talented forward Musa Barrow can play all across the front three, possesses great skill in tight spaces and has a penchant for the unexpected. His form with Bologna in Serie A is also worth noting, and should bode well for the Scorpions’ prospects in Cameroon.

At the back, Sampdoria’s Omar Colley is an uncompromising marker on whom the side’s defensive architecture will rest. 

Ebrima Darboe, 20, got the attention of Jose Mourinho at Roma. Originally an attacking midfielder, he is playing a deeper role these days, and Gambia could use his metronomic passing ability if they wish to emphasise a shorter passing style.

Probable lineup

Modou Jobe; Noah Sonko Sundberg, Omar Colley, Bubacarr Sanneh, Pa Modou Jagne; Sulayman Marreh, Ebrima Sohna; Ablie Jallow, Musa Barrow, Bubacarr Trawally; Assan Ceesay.

Fixtures 

Wednesday, 12 January: The Gambia v Mauritania

Sunday, 16 January: The Gambia v Mali, 

Thursday, 20 January: The Gambia v Tunisia

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