Jan 4, 2011, 12:20 PM
Following a miserable campaign by the Gambia national U-17 team that saw them failed in their attempt to defend their 2009 CAF U-17 crown in Rwanda, all focus has now been placed on the Gambia national U-20 team expected to revive the country’s glory in the youth championship.
The Darling Scorpions under the guidance of Lamin Sarr a week ago began an intensive preparatory programme at the Brikama Box Bar mini-Stadium.
The boys are looking set to put an end to the U-20 team’s lack of silverware at the continental showdown.
Sarr and his charges, who underwent an intensive qualifying campaign en route to the Libya campaign, booked their place to the tournament at the expense of the much-fancied Ivory Coast team in the final day of the qualifiers in Abidjan amidst heroic welcome by the Gambian fans.
With the quality of the players at his disposal, including the foreign based stars, Sarr will travel to Libya with arguably one of the most outstanding U-20 teams the country can be proud of.
He is however aware of the huge task that lies ahead of him considering the setback that hit the country’s progress in youth football following the U-17’s dismal showing in Rwanda.
Anything less than a championship title in Libya could be considered a failure for coach Sarr and his two assistants in Wallidan’s Foday Bah and Steve Biko’s Abdoulie Bojang.
But one could still be optimistic of a desired result for the U-20 team in Libya if their recent successes during a crucial qualifying campaign, coupled with some great talents, are anything to go by.
The Darling Scorpions are pitted against teams in a group rated the group of death. These are undoubtedly the continent’s power houses: Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana.
They will begin the Libya campaign when they meet Cameroon at the Benghazi Stadium on March 19.
The Darling Scorpions, who were the bronze medalists in Congo four years ago, will go into their second group fixtures with a crucial match against the defending champions Ghana on 22 March with Nigeria to follow on 25 March in Tripoli.The top two teams in each group will progress to the FIFA U-20 World Cup final due to take place later this year.