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Gambia to begin defence of title with crucial game

Jan 7, 2011, 1:46 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

The Gambia national U-17 are set to begin the defence of their 2009 crown with a crucial first game in the Caf U-17 cadet championship against Congo in Kigali on Sunday.

Coach Lamin Sambou and his charges arrived in Kigali barely two days before the commencement of the tournament with less expectation from the Gambian people owing to the omission of few key players from the team.

Steve Biko tough-tacking midfield maestro Fabakary Bojang, Hamang Conteh of Lamin United and Lamin Gibba of Wallidan are the three valuable players the team has to do without in the final 18-man squad that left Egypt on Thursday for Kigali after their three-week training camp.

The Gambia that won the tournament two times, in 2005 in Banjul and 2009 in Algiers, is pitted in the same group against Congo, Mali and fellow West African counterparts Ivory Coast in what could be referred to as the toughest group in the eight-team competition.

The Baby Scorpions, who remains the favorites to reclaim the title, will rub shoulders with Mali on Wednesday 12 January before battling out with Ivory Coast in their final group match in the Rwanda championship three days later.

The Gambia, who were also the title holders in 2005, were pitted in the same group against Mali, Ivory Coast and Weekend's opponents Congo.