Gambians have greeted last night’s loss to Congo with an attack on the ‘uninspiring and defensive’ style of Coach Tom Saintfiet with some calling for his head if the country is dreaming to harness its potential. Tom, who guided the Scorpions to their maiden African Nations Cup earlier this year, is prone to sitting back and allowing his opponents dominate hoping to break them on the counter. It worked until when he met the big boys – host Cameroon which made no such mistakes for him to benefit from. He earned the nick name the man who wins without beautiful football- but for how long? Well last night it seemed to have worked well until Congo pounced on a chance in the 73rd minute to put all three points in the kitty.
Tom Saintfiet named an unchanged squad from their narrow victory over South Sudan a few days ago with Assan Ceesay, Ablie Jallow, Musa Barrow, Ebrimah Darboe all making the start list.
Baboucarr Gaye retained his position between the sticks for the Scorpions. He hasn’t looked back ever since taking the number one spot at the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon.
Congo head coach Paul Put made wholesale changes to the team that were thumped 4-0 by Mali in the first-round match in Bamako last Saturday.
Pavelh Ndzila was preferred to Christoffer Mafoumbi in the goalposts whereas Thievy Bifouma, Ravy Tsouka Dozi and Guy Carel Mbenza who were the only retained players in the starting list.
The first period of the encounter was balanced as both teams got 50 percent each of the entire ball possession. Both teams failed to register a single shot on target from the numerous goal attempts.
The Red Devils found the back of the net despite being dominated by the Gambians slightly with a sumptuous strike from Makoumbou.
Makoumbou was set up by Vieljeux Mboungou to put Congo ahead in the match in the 74th minute in what turned out to be the winner. The next round of fixtures in Group G in September will see Congo come up against South Sudan in back-to-back matches. Mali will also face Gambia.