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African military football cup kicks off in Abidjan

Dec 7, 2012, 11:24 AM

Twelve nations have converged in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, for the 2012 edition of the African Military Football Cup, a tournament staged by the Organization of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA).

The opening ceremony was held on Wednesday evening at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium with remarks from the Chairman of the OSMA and representatives of the Burkina Faso and Ivorian head of states.

Hosts Ivory Coast drew 0-0 with Nigeria in the tournament’s opening match on Wednesday.

OSMA organizes the continental event every two years with teams representing National Armed Forces from Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Africa Liaison offices.

CAMFOOT, the tournament’s other name, also serves as the qualifying tournament for the World Military Games with the four semifinals earning automatic spots to the world event to be hosted by Azerbaijan in June 2013.

The trophy is offered by His Excellency Blasé Compaore, president of the republic of Burkina Faso.

The Gambia, making her second appearance at the tournament after the Kampala edition, has set their sights on winning a place in the World Cup and lifting crown in Abidjan.

The Khaki boys, as they are widely known, last Thursday bade farewell to the head of the Gambian Army, Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Ousman Badjie, who tasked the soldiers to bring back the trophy.

He said his office had done everything possible to prepare and motivate the gallant troops of the Gambia Armed Forces Football team.

CDS Badjie concluded by urging the GAF team to be good ambassadors of the country both on and off the pitch.

Abdoulie Kah, deputy permanent secretary at The Gambia’s Ministry of defense, for his part, advised the technicians of the team to always keep the bench in order, noting that it’s a disciplinary force and thus need to lead by example.

Kah, who headed The Gambia under 17’s delegation to Rwanda for the Africa U-17 Championship in 2011, when he held the same position at the ministry of youth and Sports, said the team should avoid pointing fingers at each other when things go wrong and advised them to be a unit throughout.

Gambia Armed Forces finished runners-up in the 2011-2012 Gambia Football Association 1st division league, a point behind champions Real De Banjul FC, the country’s representatives in next January CAF Champions league.

The Khaki boys boast of plenty of experience in their squad with the likes of Lamin Colley, Sheriff Sambia, Buba Sanyang, Lamin Sima, Kebba Jobe, and Ebou Kanteh, who’ve all been part of past of the national team selections.

Gambia play Kenya in their opening match of the African Military Cup on Saturday 3pm at the Stade Parc du Sport.

Day two at the African Military Football Cup sees Egypt play Zambia in group B, whilst Kenya take on Burkina Faso.

        Abdoulie Bah in Abidjan