GAMBIA LIKELY TO PLAY AFCON QUALIFIERS IN DAKAR

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With the draw now done for the Afcon 2023 qualifiers, The Standard has been reliably informed that   The Gambia will almost certainly play home matches in Dakar, Senegal until the Independence Stadium is refurbished and available to host matches.

Yesterday, the Gambia was drawn alongside Congo, Mali and South Sudan in Group G of the qualifiers, which starts in end of May with two matches for each side within two weeks.

 The draw was greeted with mixed reactions by Gambians. While many think is a balanced one, others think The Gambia will have to work hard to beat Congo and South Sudan to the second available place behind potential group favorite Mali.

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However, with the Independence Stadium not available, the Gambia is said to have now engaged Senegal on the possibility of hosting her home matches at the Diamniadio stadium. ”This arrangement will be concluded as soon as possible. A team of Gambian officials are due to travel to Dakar to finalise arrangement,” a source told The Standard.

The source said the Gambian football authorities are keen to bring the game as close to the fans as possible under the circumstances. ” It would be much easier for fans to go to Dakar than anywhere else,” our source said. He said ideally the GFF would like the team to play in front of home crowd right here in Banjul and that is why the focus and hope remain that the stadium would be quickly fixed.

Groupings

Group A: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome e Principe or Mauritius.

Group B: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Togo, Eswatini.

Group C: Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Burundi.

Group D: Egypt, Guinea, Malawi, Ethiopia.

Group E: Ghana, Madagascar, Angola, Central African Republic.

Group F: Algeria, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania.

Group G: Mali, Congo, The Gambia, South Sudan,

Group H: Ivory Coast (hosts), Zambia, Comoros, Lesotho.

Group I: DR Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan.

Group J: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana.

Group K: Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia.

Group L: Senegal, Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda.