by John Mendy
Gambia’s Senior Women National team’s dream of reaching their first-ever nations cup appearance has been dashed in Lagos.
A baptism of fire in the hands of African champions, Nigeria on Monday made the Queen Scorpions realize how much of a world-class opponent the eight-time winners are.
The Queen Scorpions failed to sting and rather bowed to a rampant Super Falcons side that dished out a 6 – 0 drubbing (7-0 on aggregate) at the Agege Township Stadium in the second leg, final round encounter of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON).
Four goals from Desire Oparanozie – who misfired in Banjul – and a brace from reigning African Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, was enough for Coach Thomas Dennerby’s star-studded side to seal their spot at AWCON 2018 with an emphatic win.
Gambian skipper Penda Bah has however, remained positive.
She said: “The feeling was overwhelming because it was an unexpected performance from us, for the fact that we are coming in for the first time. However, we still have a special desire to do well.”
Victory means Nigeria’s Super Falcons have maintained their record of appearing in every edition of the flagship competition for Women’s Football in Africa. They will be making their 11th appearance, while Gambia’s Queen Scorpions, who were participating in the qualifiers for the first time with a very young adamant looking side of ages between 18 and 23 years old, will have to keep the fate that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
A former practicing Gambian sports journalist, now a journalism trainer at the Gambia Press Union School of Journalism, Sang Mendy, has ever since believed that Gambia’s future in football lies in the women.
“The future of Gambian football remains feminine,” he said.
It’s been a thrilling contest on the continent over the last two months. Here are the teams lined up to the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations slated for November –December later this year in Ghana.
The tournament also doubles as the qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France. Three top African teams emerging from the 2018 event will qualify as Africa’s representatives in the showpiece event.
Facts about Gambia
Gambia’s first ever participation in a Nations Cup qualifier (AWCON 2018).
Played four AWCON matches: lost three, won one, scored 3 and conceded 3.
The Gambia has overall played 10 international matches since the team was put together two years ago; Casa Sport of Senegal (friendly), home and away against Guinea Bissau (friendlies), twice away against Morocco (friendlies), Burkina Faso home and away (2018 AWCON qualifiers), Mali twice at home (friendlies) and Nigeria home and away (2018 AWCON qualifiers).
Ahead of Nigeria clash, Swedish based Fatoumatta Gassama, who was invited for the tie, was eventually dropped by head Coach Mariama Sowe after she failed to impress in two friendly defeats to Mali at home.