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Fans react angrily to U-17's woeful performance

Jan 17, 2011, 5:09 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

Football lovers in The Gambia have expressed deep disappointment with the Baby Scorpions for their woeful and disastrous performance in the ongoing CAF U-17 youth championship in Rwanda, which resulted in the team's embarrassing defeat on Saturday in the hands of Ivory Coast.  

The Baby Scorpions, who have earned the admiration of football followers in the country, are enduring undeniably the most embarrassing moment in the country’s football history at the U-17 level.

They were widely rated the most favourites in the eight-team tournament prior to the Rwanda competition but they turned out to be the weakest team ever produced by The Gambia at the U-17 level.

Football followers are expressing disappointment for what they referred to as the team's dismal performances in the Rwanda campaign, which has caused them to crash out of the tournament in the first rounds.The two-time African U-17 champions succumbed to what was undoubtedly their worst defeat ever in the continental youth showdown. The performance of the boys was characterised by bad passes, lack of experience, and ill-selected players, among other deficiencies.

An embarrassing 3-nil defeat to Congo Brazzaville in the team's opener a week ago was received with great shock and disappointment by Gambian fans back home, who have since lost hope in The Gambia’s chances of defending their 2009 crown.

But coach Lamin Sambou and his charges made a remarkable recovery from their dismal start in the campaign by escaping with a narrow 1-nil win over Mali in their second match in the tournament to put their title hope back on track.

But that title hope was dented by Ivory Coast on Saturday with a 4-1 humiliation when goals from Diarrassouba, Kouassi, Lago and Bedi gave Ivory Coast more than they needed to advance to the last four teams of the campaign.

The Gambia consoled themselves with a header, courtesy of defender Adama Sabally’s 71st minute strike.

"This is the weakest U-17 team ever that The Gambia has produced, and the selection was totally bias," said an angry fan, who preferred to remain anonymous.

He added: "We were without several key players, and they were dropped as a result of bias selection, which should not be the case.

"Unless a foreign coach is appointed to take charge of our national teams, the issue of bias selection will still be a stumbling block in our quest to achieve the desired result."

"This is the most embarrassing moment in the country’s football history," said another angry fan who spoke to this reporter yesterday.