Mar 2, 2009, 4:16 AM
This is the first time The Gambia is playing with Cameroon at senior level.
It is important to note that Cameroon have a brilliant record in football in Africa. This campaign is their 17th participation in the Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
They have won the Nations Cup four times – in 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002. They have also participated in the World Cup seven times.
However, due to management problems the team’s standard has been declining for the past four years.
The players have also been having financial problems regarding the payment of their dues on time, whenever they play international matches.
It seems all this is now water under the bridge as the Cameroon authorities have now redressed the situation. So we are expecting to see a wounded Lion versus a stinging Scorpion. Mind you: David knocked down Goliath; so it is possible for the Scorpion to sting the Lion and carry the day.
Two key players will be absent from the Indomitable Lions’ lineup. These are defender Aurellien Chedou, a key player for Galatasaray in Turkey, who is presently suffering from a knee injury; and the other is striker Clinton Njie, also a key player of Tottenham in the UK. He is also suffering from an injury.
The Gambia, on the other hand, have never qualified to play in the Africa Cup of Nations at senior level, though this is the 10th time they have participated in the preliminary rounds.
Although Gambian football was affected both financially and technically, we are hopeful that with the appointment in May this year of the new Swiss coach, Raoul Savoy, our football would turn around for the better, especially with our young talented players who are performing well in Europe, Asia, and America.
It is advisable that we the fans are united and support our Scorpions throughout the match, for we have home advantage which we should utilize properly with discipline. We should never boo our boys when they make mistakes, as that could dampen their spirits.
It would be recalled that since Coach Savoy took charge of the team, The Gambia in June played a friendly match against Uganda in Kampala, which ended 1-all.
And in the same month in the African Cup of Nations Qualifiers, The Gambia played an away match against South Africa, which ended goalless.
The authorities and the business community should invest more funds in Gambia’s football so we can get good results, as football is nowadays not leisure, but business.
It is also true that a good standing in football would give a country a sound profile, and put the name of the nation on the world map.
Fans should come in large numbers to cheer the boys throughout the 90-minute encounter.
We are also appealing to all Muslims and Christians in the country to pray at mosques and churches for a successful and peaceful match in The Gambia.
We should all hope for victory.
“Football is football and talent is talent. But the mindset of your team makes all the difference.”
Robert Griffin III