Gambia U-20 Coach Abdoulie Bojang said tactical superiority guided his side to beat seven-times champions Nigeria in the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations.
The Young Scorpions scored the game’s only goal after seven minutes when Steve Biko’s Adama Bojang fired home the all-important goal. Ebrima Singhateh blocked a defensive clearance with his head and the ball fell kindly to Bojang who lashed in between two Nigerian defenders for his fourth goal of the tournament
Bojang scored a hat-trick in the quarter-final annihilation of South Sudan and he was at his lethal best again at Cairo’s International Stadium on Monday. Speaking in a post-match interview with the GFF Media, Lie Bajong explained how he nullified the strength of the Nigerians with a tactical masterstroke.
“Physically, we can’t match Nigeria, which is why today we restricted our full backs from going forward. We knew they were weak in the center of defence, so we capitalised on that,” Bojang, who also guided the Young Scorpions to a second-place finish at the regional WAFU qualifiers said.
“Tactically, we were compact as we stopped them from exploiting their strength. Personally, for me, I believe in tactics, which is why we work a lot on it because they are so important,” he added.
After two third place finishes, this team became the first Gambian side to reach the final of this competition. They will now play in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May but before that, there will be a Senegambia derby in the AFCON finals at Cairo’s International Stadium on Saturday.
The Young Scorpions have won all and scored 10 goals in five matches in the competition so far and yet to concede one. Five different players have also scored. However, that clean sheet record was threatened in the 85th minute with a VAR controversially awarded penalty. However, substitute Ahmed Abdullahi hit the frame of the post but keeper Pa Ebou Dampha had it well covered before the ball was cleared to safety.
The Gambians were forced to play the remaining minutes of the match with 10-men after Haruna Rashid Njie was sent off for a second yellow card. Sadly, for him, he will now miss Saturday’s final.
The Gambia have also won the Man of the Match awards in all those games. The latest was Dampha who has been very instrumental in goal whenever his defence was breached.
“I’m super proud to win this award and reach the final. I dedicate this award to every Gambian,” Dampha, who and the rest of the teammates have been given a day off from training today, said afterwards.
“We are now ready to make history in the final on Saturday, and insha-Allah,” he stated.