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Gambia flounder in Abuja tournament

Apr 26, 2016, 9:53 AM | Article By: Muhamed L. Saidykhan, GVBF Press Officer

The Gambia women beach volleyball team returns home on Wednesday after participating in the African Volleyball Confederation Women beach volleyball continental cup finals in Abuja.

The Gambia, after winning gold in the sub-zonal stages in Dakar in January 2015 and emerged triumphant in Abidjan in November 2015, they were dubbed “favorites of African beach volleyball’’.

The Abuja tournament did not go well with the Gambian ladies as they lost 4 of the five matches they played.

Three years ago, The Gambia women beach volleyball team was languishing with a mediocre record in the continent of Africa.

Fast forward to this tournament and the team has racked up 15 wins and zero loses.

Not only does Gambia have a winning record, it is also internationally ranked 16th by CAVB in March.

That record was broken in Abuja when fellow West Africans Sierra Leone and Nigeria beat Gambia in their opening games of the continental cup finals.

The Gambia first lost to Salone ladies in a tied encounter that was determined in the Golden game which Sierra Leone won 2-1.

Nigerian rounded off a memorable day in the program history as they were victorious in all 4 matches that they played on day one. Following the victory over Mauritius, the host overcame Gambia in an easy game.

This matchup had even more excitement in store for the African champions on the beach.

The Gambia women beach volleyball team could have been the first team sports from The Gambia to qualify to the Olympics, however the nation has to wait for the next Continental Cup Qualifications for the 2020 Olympics Games.

The Gambia dashed their hopes of making it through to the semis after conceding heavy defeat against Mauritius.

The Gambia only managed to beat Ghana 2-0 but could not continue on their winning streak.

Despite that Gambia did not perform to expectations, the tournament however did improve the country’s continental ranking as they moved from 16th to 8th in Africa.

“I feel honoured and privileged to be part of this and it is a blessing to be among the best 10 beach volleyball nations in Africa,” said Gambian player Sainabou Tambedou.

“We had learned a lot, I can tell the game is really developing in the continent of Africa and bravo to all nations who are trying to develop beach volleyball in their respective countries.”

Abie Kujabie also joined Tambedou in expressing how proud they are to represent The Gambia at the biggest beach volleyball event in Africa.

She urged the National Volleyball Federation to support athletes by organizing open beach volleyball events and also to adapt a very attractive calendar that will help them (the players) to remain fit always.

The future is very bright “if there is support”, Kujabie concluded. The Gambia’s participation was fully funded by GNOC.

The competition was eventually won by Egypt when they beat Rwanda at the finals.