Africa's minnows, the Scorpions of Gambia, have been handed a tough group in the 2024 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote D'Ivoire.
The Scorpions, coming to the global competition, are not regarded as favorites, but many pundits have predicted that they should have a point to prove as no pushover, especially with their memorable first-time appearance in the AFCON 2021 and a beautiful push through the quarter-finals stage.
The biggest threat to Gambia's aspirations at AFCON 2024 will be the defending champions Senegal, a country that looks to be the third country in history to retain their AFCON title.
The Scorpions of Gambia will take the field for their second-ever AFCON as they try to build on their promising run to the quarter-finals in 2021.
The Gambians find themselves in Group C alongside Senegal, Guinea, and Cameroon.
The Scorpions will kick off their campaign on January 15 against their neighbors Senegal.
Tom Saintfiet's men will also face Cameroon in a rematch of the quarterfinal from the 2021 AFCON.
Bearing in mind their impressive run in Cameroon, where they reached the quarterfinals of the competition, the Scorpions cannot but ask for a lesser performance.
The Scorpions will kick off the first match against Guinea on January 19, 2024, at 8:00 p.m GMT at Stade Charles-Konan-Banny, Yamoussoukro, then will face Cameroon on Jan 23 at 5:00 p.m GMT at Stade de la Paix, Bouaké.
Coming to the AFCON, Gambia scripted a new chapter in its history on September 10, 2023, securing a crucial 2-2 draw against Congo-Brazzaville in a thrilling encounter.
The Scorpions clinched their ticket to TotalEnergies AFCON 2023, denying the Diables Rouges in the process. Gambia finished in the second spot in Group G, earning qualification with 10 points.
The player to watch is Assan Ceesay, known for his ability to exploit wide spaces. Assan Ceesay is a speedy player who actively contributes to the team's gameplay. He frequently drops back from his midfield position to recover balls and consistently delivers numerous decisive passes. His versatile playing style, coupled with finishing prowess, allowed him to shine in the Swiss league during the early stages of his professional career. With an endearing and spontaneous approach, the Gambian gives his all, embodying the qualities of the ideal forward with unwavering generosity on the field.
The Coach of the team, Tom Saintfiet, is regarded as a tactician who is much endeared to his players. Tom Saintfiet instills confidence in the core of his squad, and the results speak for themselves.
Gambia qualified for its first TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in 2021, and it was a historic moment celebrated in the country.
Steering the ship once again for this Ivorian edition of the AFCON, the Belgian is determined to guide his team beyond the quarter-final stage.
On the field, Saintfiet employs a 4-3-3 formation that transforms into a 4-5-1 during defensive phases, emphasizing on pressing and sustained activity, translating into extended runs.
When AFCON 2023 kicks off in Cote d’Ivoire, Tom Saintfiet and his boys will count on the experience garnered at their debut tournament to once again spring up surprises on the continent.