Gambia ready for Austria

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Gambia are billed to take on Austria in the round of 16 of the on-going FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada tonight.

The grand kickoff is scheduled for 21:45 GMT at Edmonton stadium. Gambia, who took off to a losing start (0-3 defeat to Mexico) went ahead to humble fellow new comers, New Zealand and Portugal 1-0 and 2-1 respectively, to settle for the second best side in Group C.

As African bronze medalists prepare to take on Austrians - the first team from the Alpine nation to advance to the second stage of a FIFA event since 1982, many pundits are holding Gambia as the favourites.

The Darling Scorpions will however go into tonight’s game without their prolific defender, skipper Ken Malamin Jammeh who was sent off for an unruly studs-up challenge on Andre Maques which ended the Portuguese's match and possibly tournament.

And with Bonu Johnson’s technical capability still being persistently questioned, many elites are optimistic that the Darling Scorpions will have nothing to lose tonight-thanks to the cohesiveness that exists in the squad.

The Gambian squad enjoys the kind of cohesiveness which is rarely found in other teams, despite the diverse ethnic, religious and even linguistic origins of its members.

This 'come one, come all' philosophy was summed up by the team's goal celebrations in the match against New Zealand and Portugal when they united in an Islamic-style prayer while dancing a traditional Gambian jig. In a team with no concept of barriers, everyone is able to put aside their differences and strive for the common good.
A win for Gambia tonight will see them lock horns, in the quarter finals, the winner in the America-Uruguay match.

Author: Written by Nanama Keita
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper