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Gambia U-20 End Campaign in South Africa

Apr 26, 2011, 6:00 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh in Johannesburg

The Gambia national Under-20 team's campaign in the Caf African Youth Championship Saturday  afternoon came to a miserable end as they suffered a bitter 2-nil defeat to the flying Eagles of Nigeria at the MilPark Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Goals from Flying Eagles duo Stanley Okoro Osaretin and Captain Azeez Ramon Olamilekan were more than enough to send the Darling Scorpions packing amid series of disappointing finishing by the Gambian side, who are still complaining of fatigue owing to their 17-hour journey to Johannesburg on transit.

The Gambia had a promising start to the decisive encounter with some impressive run in front of Nigeria’s goal but all their efforts weren’t good enough to give them a happy moment.

The Nigerian side, who have confirmed their place in the semifinal of the eight-team Caf tournament and a place in the Fifa U-20 World Cup finals in Colombia, made several efforts to score an early goal including a threatening moment from Nwofor Uche Innocent, who had a superb chance to put his name on the score-sheet but blasted away what could have been the game's opener with only 3 minutes on the clock.

The Gambian team responded well with some great combining passes through the flanks and it looked like they were going to score but efforts from Ousman Jarjue and captain Saikou Gassama in the 17th and 21st minutes saw the Darling Scorpions continue their unimpressive scoring record having only netted once during a trouble campaign marred by inadequate preparation.

Coach Lamin Sarr alongside his coaching staff was let down by the team’s poor finishing, prompting them to bring in more fresh legs to boost the striking tact when Ebrima Camara, and Lamin Sarjo Samateh replaced Ousman Jarju and Momodou Kabba Cham but even the introduction of the pair made no difference

The defeat saw coach Lamin Sarr and his charges bowed out of the tournament and ended any hope of a second appearance in the Fifa Under-20 World Cup due to take place in Colombia later this year.

The Darling Scorpions began the campaign with a narrow 1-nil loss to Cameroon, but improved on their game and eventually held the defending African and world champions Ghana to a convincing 1-1 draw in their second encounter amidst praises from the Ghanaian coach.

The news could be seen as a massive blow for the country’s youth football, a blow which has followed a woeful performance in January by the country's most successful national team, the U-17, who returned to Banjul from Kigali, Rwanda, with a disastrous result.

The Darling Scorpions are expected to return this week.