Tuesday Jan 11, 2022. 13:00
Gambia will be making history when they open their Africa Cup of Nations
campaign against Mauritania at the Limbe Stadium on Wednesday, January 12.
Kick-off is at 6pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)
The Scorpions are competing on Africa’s biggest stage for the first time in their history after winning their group ahead of Mali in the qualifiers.
Tom Saintfiet’s side boasted an identical record to the Panthers with three victories, one draw and two defeats from their six matches, but topped the group by virtue of more goals scored.
Assan Ceesay was their top scorer in qualifying with three goals and he leads the scoring charts for his country with 11 in total from 23 appearances.
All but one of Saintfiet’s squad ply their trade in Europe, with Bubacarr Trawally playing his club football for Ajman in the United Arab Emirates.
This will be Lions of Chinguetti’s second showing at the biennial tournament, having made their debut at the 2019 edition, where they exited at the group stages.
Corentin Martins guided the West Africans to the showpiece event in Cameroon as runners-up to Morocco in their qualifying group, but was sacked in October 2021 for failing to reach the 2022 World Cup finals.
Didier Gomes Da Rosa took over the reins two months later and has overseen one win, two draws and two losses in his five outings as head coach.
The core of his squad is made up of home-based players, with no less than 10 plying their trade in Mauritania, while nine members play their club football in Europe.
The two nations have clashed on five previous occasions, with Mauritania registering two wins compared to one for Gambia. Their last meeting took place in AFCON 2017 qualifying with the result a goalless draw.