Jan 18, 2011, 1:42 PM
Sierra Leone U-20 side, Shooting Stars, will meet The Gambia U-20 in the first round of the African U-20 qualifiers following the elimination of their Algerian opponents with a 2-1 aggregate win in the preliminaries.
The all-West African clash is set to commence on the weekend of July 23, when the Baby Scorpions will host the Shooting Stars in Banjul.
The return leg will be played two weeks later, and in the first week of August.
The Gambia with fifteen other countries such as Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria, among others, were exempted from playing in the preliminaries and are expected to play and win two matches before booking a place 17th African U-20 Championship, billed for Libya 2011.
Despite losing the second leg 1-0 in Algiers, the Shooting Stars advanced to the next round after winning the first leg 2-0 at home in Freetown.
According to the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Nahim Khadi, the Shooting Stars have made Sierra Leone proud, as he stated, they had done what others have failed to do.
"They have made football rise again in the country, after the female team and the home base side have failed to qualify in their respective competitions, they have made it," Khadi told Goal.com.
For many Sierra Leoneans, the players showed their determination to make it to the finals of the competition, despite the difficult path the boys went through before traveling for the return leg.
A fan named Edith Wright, who spoke to Goal.com after the match said: "The performance of the boys shows that they are determined to fly the country flag high, despite the unhealthy relationship between the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports and the SLFA."
The final round will be played between 24, 25, 26, September 2010.
Meanwhile, in the U-17 category, Morocco will face The Gambia in August in the first round following the withdrawal of Guinea Bissau in the preliminaries of t he 9th African U-17 Championship In Rwanda 2011.