#Sports

Tom Saintfiet says Gambia lost to Africa’s new champions

Jan 31, 2022, 1:46 PM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

Tom Saintfiet, head coach of The Gambia senior national team has said that the Scorpions of The Gambia lost against the new champions of Africa.

 

The valiant Scorpions lost 2-0 against the host nation (Cameroon) in the quarter-final of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament held at the Japoma Stadium, Douala on Saturday.

Karl Toko Ekambi scored both goals for the hosts (Cameroon) in the 50th and 57th minutes to end Gambia’s participation in their first ever Afcon tournament.

The Scorpions held the host nation who are also one of the favourites in the tournament at bay after playing a goalless stalemate in the first period. 

But the Cameroonians who had the home advantage with support from their teeming fans at the Japoma Stadium had everything worked for them in the second period after scoring two goals after the break.

“I am proud of my players in the tournament but also in this match where we lost (2-0) against a great team from Cameroon. We were beaten by the future champions of Africa,” Saintfiet told reporters during a post-match presser.

“Though I am very disappointed about the result, we lost against not only a strong side, eleven but also to over 40, 000 people at the Japoma Stadium in Douala,” Coach Tom Sainfiet further said.

He expressed his pride in his team, noting that his players did everything they could even though it was their first time in Afcon.

“I am very proud of my team. The players did everything they could and for the first time in the Afcon and played against the host. Seven points in the group stage, three points against Guinea and now losing our first game. Sometimes we talk about minors. Maybe we do not have to but we are the only minor who did not lose until now (Saturday). We worked so hard not to lose but it happened.”

 According to him, they collected 10 points in five games, adding that now everyone’s head is down, players are crying in their dressing room because they did not want to be eliminated out of the tournament.

“We want to thank Cameroon for the wonderful tournament. We hope to bounce back in the future Afcon tournament. We learned a lot and we believed it would help us in the future.”  

Gambia achievement cannot be underestimated

The scale of Gambia’s achievement cannot be underestimated, despite their defeat in Douala.

Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, and has a population of just over two million. This was their debut appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, and their two group stage wins will go down in history as some of the nation’s finest ever sporting moments.

Meanwhile, a post on State House official page reads: “This may not be the happy ending we all hoped for but the fact that you made history and did so with vigour will go down in our records.”

The State House post continued: “Our country has accomplished a great deal by getting this far as debutants. You have left an everlasting mark on the entire country by making the #AFCON2021 experience a memorable one. We are proud of you, and we hope for more in our sports domain.” 

The post from State House further said that the officials and stakeholders deserve a big thank you.

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