Preparations for the Under 17 World cup to be played in Nigeria in October are already in gear for Gambia's Junior Scorpions. A practice match against Nigeria for last week-end was called off owing to unavailability of the Nigerian team, which is currently undergoing problems as 16 players disqualified for being over age. However the Baby Scorpions will now meet Senegal on Saturday 15th August in a return friendly match in preparation for the World Cup play-offs now only eight weeks away. The team is to later work out in practice matches that are expected to give them proper orientation to European style football.
Following that training, the team is scheduled to fly to Ghana to gain experience, self-assessment and cohesion against a strong footballing nation. Closer to the tournament the team is to arrive in Nigeria at least 10 days prior to the play-offs for further practices and acclimatisation.
With early preparations and adequate match practice, which has always been lacking in Gambian football, most technicians and football analysts have raised a green flag for the Junior Scorpions in these play-offs. It is argued that the Scorpions would be more fired up for their first group match against Iran, firstly because it is the opening match which they would not want to lose.
The Scorpions would also be all out for vengeance against their second opponents Holland, a team that disappointingly ousted them in the last World Cup in Peru. It is also the prognosis of analysts that a victory over Iran and Holland would virtually open the way to the next stage for the Scorpions because they are believed to be able to hold their ground against Colombia for the further points required.
Analysts are all the more optimistic because of the arduous preparations and match experience of the team. Furthermore the team is said to be in top fitness form at the moment, a form that we pray continues into the play-offs.Everything said and done, the Scorpions have our special best wishes because of having gone very close the last time, and also because of all the effort and practice they have put into preparations so far. As would be noted, The Gambia need to pull their weight against their Group comprised of Holland, Iran, and Colombia, with further stiff competition ahead if they cross their group.