The Gambia will face Mali next Friday (March 24) in Bamako for the first leg of their AFCON qualifying matches. 

And the teams will square off again in Casablanca four days later for the second leg. 

The Scorpions are bidding for their second AFCON appearance after an impressive debut in Cameroon, where they held the Malian team to a draw. 

Both teams have played two games each in the qualifiers, with Mali winning both games and topping the group with six points, after a comfortably win against South Sudan 3-1 and Congo Republic 4-0.

However, the Scorpions have won a game and lost the other to Congo Republic, and are currently sitting third on the table with three points. 

Coach Tom Saint is seeking a win to regain the momentum as the Scorpions face a daunting task in their upcoming match against the Mali national team, who have more experience in the international competitions.

Mali is ranked 45 on FIFA’s World Football Rankings, 81 places ahead of The Gambia on 126. 

Yesterday, Saintfiet unveiled a 32-man preliminary list for next week’s clash against Mali. 

The final squad of 25 players will be released at a later date due to uncertainty over the availability of some key players. 

James Gomez, Sulayman Marreh, Ebrima Adams, Ebrima Darboe and Bubacarr ‘Steve’ Trawally are all ruled out due to injury.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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