Sep 8, 2011, 12:09 PM
Every soccer fan was happy when the Gambia's senior national team, the Scorpions, defeated Namibia by 3-1 in the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers 2012 to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, in our home soil in September.
Many people referred to that effort as a good start. However, the latest heavy defeat of the team in Burkina Faso on Saturday by 3-1 has sent some chilling currents down our spines.
The question that many are, in fact, asking is - what really went wrong in Burkina Faso?
Most people who watched the match on television attribute the team's poor performance in Burkina Faso to weak defending tactics, and inaccurate substitutions effected during the game by the coach.
The team was given the necessary support by the Gambia Football Association (GFA) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports just to ensure their continued success throughout the competition.
However, Saturday's performance was less impressive, leaving fans in total disappointment.
After a four-day training camp in Belgium prior to the Gambia-Burkina Faso match, people were of the belief that the Saturday game would be in our favour, but everything turned out be at sixes and sevens in the whole ballgame.
The worst most fans were expecting was a draw; instead we headed for the woods. But that is football; it is like a biscuit, they say, it breaks where one does not expect it.
Now, the whole table has been turned around. Whereas The Gambia were leading in Group F, with three points, three goals, the latest development is that Burkina Faso have now managed to top the group with a goal difference of plus two.
The Gambia, who have so far played two matches, are now in second place, with four goals in favour and four goals against.
Coach Paul Put and the technical team now have to learn from their mistakes, and reorganise the team, since he would have enough time to prepare the team for the last stage to be played sometime next year.
Expectations are high for the country to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup; therefore every opportunity should be explored to get the team well prepared and qualified for the all-important tournament that our beloved Gambia, which has made so much strides in recent football history, must take part in this time around.
The latest defeat does not mean that the country is out of the competition; not at all, but demands the full cooperation of all and sundry, especially from the team led by the coach.
We are convinced that, despite this setback, The Gambia can still make it to achieve its dream of qualifying.