With the chances of reaching CAN2019 now almost certainly out of the window, fans have now given coach Tom Saintfiet a new term of reference- ‘stop this heart- breaking home defeats and transform our stadium to a fortress beginning Saturday’.
This message is in response to the Coach’s call for fans to stick with the team despite the apparent inability to qualify for the CAN2019.
”This team is a very promising team if they can really be inspired and mentored to aim higher. I think they must be made to understand that home matches in Africa are a must win for the host. Anything other than that is just a disaster. We should try and beat Benin and salvage some respect and hope going into the future, ” said Bakary Saine, a football academy coach in Abuko. Ebrima Bojang, a Scorpions fan from Sukuta accused Coach Tom Saintfiet and his staff of poor judgement by ignoring public opinion in their invitation of players. ”I still think that the likes of SteveTrawalley, Omar Colley and Modou Barrow have plenty to offer to make our team even better . If we come out of this quagmire I will recommend the coaches use their heads rather than their hearts when calling or selecting the players,” he charged. He added that the team can make amends by winning on Saturday and get everyone on one side as we pray for the additional three points from the protest against Togo .
But where as Saintfiet and Gambian fans may be looking for consolation, Benin has eyes set on the big prize itself- a spot in Cameroon next year. At 7 points alongside Algeria, and both first and second placed finishers assured of a place, Benin consider themselves to be only a whisker away from booking their place and has vowed to seal that with a victory in Banjul. ”We are going to Banjul with an objective to win,” Coach Michel Dussuyer told journalists as he flew out of Cotonou a few days ago.
Both teams will be keeping a close watch on the other fixture in the group, Algeria against Togo in Lome on Sunday. If Togo beat Algeria and Gambia beat Benin, the scenario could dramatically change but The Gambia will still have to wait for the blessing of God or Caf for a favourable verdict in the protest against Togo to get back into contention.
Summary of the Standings
Country MP GD PTS
1 Algeria 4 2 7
2 Benin 4 0 7
3 Togo 4 0 5
4. Gambia 4 – 2 2