#Article (Archive)

Different Strokes

Oct 14, 2008, 5:19 AM

The nation had barely settled down to relish its leap into the big league of African football when it learnt the shocking news on Monday morning that it is not among the countries that have qualified for the second stage of the 2010 World Cup/Nations' Cup qualifiers.

The Gambian national team The Scorpions had held the mighty Teranga Lions to a 1-1 draw at the Leopold Sedat Senghore Stadium in Dakar last Saturday. With that draw, Gambians assumed that the team had already made it to the second round of the qualifying series. The mood across the nation was ecstatic so much so that Monday was declared both a school and public holiday to savour this historic moment - The Gambia being on the verge of making it for the first time ever to the continental football piece. And possibly the coveted one - the World Cup.

But like a bad dream, Gambians woke up on Monday to the unpleasant news that the new CAF rules have foiled their hopes. Again, the nation has to wait and prepare for 2012.

This is too hard to accept. But we are beginning to adjust ourselves to this new reality. Rather than bemoan our fate, the nation now looks forward to forging ahead. The Scorpions did not let the nation down - throughout the qualifying campaign, they gave a good account of themselves. They held their own against teams that had always been our nemesis.

We have faith in this present squad to do wonders in the years ahead. They have to be kept together and arrange some more competitive matches for them to add cohesion and rhythm to the team. The preparation for the 2012 Nations Cup has to start right now. The Gambia Football Association (GFA) should not panic into introducing changes in the technical crew. They are good enough, as it is. The Scorpions lost out due to technicalities that were just beyond us. We were just unlucky. Whatever has happened, the Scorpions proved they have come of age, a team that is no longer a respecter of the big names in African football.

"The most important thing in life is not the winning but the taking part; the essential thing is not conquering but fighting well."

Pierre de Coubertin