The Young Scorpions of The Gambia defeated Zambia 2 - 0 to secure a second straight win and advance to the quarter-finals despite a game to spare at the group stages.
Wing-wizard Kajally Drammeh fired home from a tight angle in the 63rd minute, before captain Alagie Saine doubled The Gambia's lead from the penalty spot after a foul on Modou Marong by Zambia's goalkeeper.
The Young Scorpions kept Zambia under constant pressure in the first half but were not able to translate their dominance into goals, as they missed several good chances.
No matter the score of their final group game against Benin, coach Abdoulie Bojang's side will still top the group.
A second man of the match award on the spin for captain Alagie Saine who now scored two goals in two games for the Gambia. A deserved victory for the young Scorpions as they serve notice to the rest of the teams about their title ambitions.
The development of this Gambia U20 side has caught even the most ardent Gambian football fan by surprise. How the team has evolved from the WAFU Zone-A Championship in Mauritania to the AFCON in Egypt, finishing as runners-up on both occasions and now a dominant showing in the FIFA World Cup in Argentina, has left many wowed. Is it down to tactical maturity, technical genius, or sheer hunger to break into global football powerhouses? Those are questions for another day. In this one, we focus entirely on the race for the unthinkable, but not a race for the impossible – the Gambia’s attempt to clinch the U20 World Cup trophy. The Gambia once again shocked the world with their football prowess, as they finished as Group F winners ahead of current runners-up – Korea Republic and 2013 champions France, to reach the round of 16. The young scorpions matched their best-ever performance at this level when the Gambia made their first and only appearance in a U20 world cup tournament in 2007. The Gambia will take on Uruguay on June 1st, 2023 in the round of 16. THE CONTINENT’S PRIDE! This unbeaten run of the Gambia U20 side in the 2023 FIFA World Cup is already a continental victory, as they became the only African side to gain an automatic qualification with two wins and a draw in the group stages. Nigeria with 6 points and Tunisia with 3, negotiated their way via the best third-placed team slots, while continental champions Senegal crashed out on a huff, disappointingly finishing bottom of Group C with two points. This is already a big disappointment for Senegal and will no doubt cut short the euphoria around their AFCON success. And so too the continent lost some pride as its champions failed to prove their worth where it mattered the most. As it appears, coach Abdoulie Bojang and his charges are the only continental representatives that have shown a performance far convincing that one can trust, and is quite capable of driving home some pride for the continent. And, Nigeria with their pedigree and history which saw them accumulate 6 out of the possible 9 points in the opening group stage, can’t be ruled out of anything. They are continental architects in playing this tournament. They appeared 12 times, and in the process, finished as runners-up in 1989 and 2005. Tunisia’s performance is far from convincing. With a mere 3 points in the group stage, should they go beyond the round of 16, will surely be one of football’s biggest bonuses. This Gambia side has already set the bar high and they did not look like they are willing to lower it against any opposition. Given their recent form and performances at the group stage, they look potentially ready for any side. “We don’t look at names, what is crucial for us is we believe in what we can do,” Coach Bojang said. That statement is justified by the performance they showed at the group stages against France, Honduras, and the Korean Republic. Their performance at the group stages which they combined with verve, precision, and tactical discipline without an iota of panic, clearly sends a strong intent about their ambitions. This team is clearly up for the unthinkable, but not impossible mission. They are poised to make global history with the way they are realistically chasing the FIFA youth accolade at the same pace as some serial champions. TASK AHEAD Now that the Gambia has moved from a side tipped to be ‘heading home’ early, to potential title contenders, means, the task ahead can be a tough one. “The most important thing is our tactics and trying to be better than our opponents during the 90 minutes.” Lie Bojang said. And the task is, to apply that statement on the pitch when they face Uruguay, a side that is playing this tournament for the 15th time but has yet to clinch any title as they reached and lost the finals in 1997 and 2013. This could be considered a big achievement for a side like the Gambia who are only appearing for the second time. But, this crop of young dynamic players, seem to care less about reputation, and, the flair and depth of the Gambia’s squad are quite capable of causing an upset against any opposition. The return of Muhammed Jobe to the already-established Gambia U20 has taken the team to another level and the firepower of the unstoppable Adama Bojang could be a cause for concern for any defensive line. Adama who scored two goals, is a candidate for the golden boot as he is two goals behind Italy’s Cesare Casadei who tops the chart with four goals. Can the Gambia set a new record by surpassing the round of 16 or even cause a global tsunami by reaching the finals?
That is the story of Haruna Rashid Njie of Gunjur United who proved himself as one of the key figures, if not the key figure for the Gambia U-20 in the just concluded CAF U-20 Championship in Egypt. Rashid is from Gunjur United a team in the Gambia Football Federation Second Division League, that has been struggling for promotion for the six-season running. Haruna himself has been part of that struggle for three seasons now.His path to the limelight, coupled with how he went on to not only establish himself as a regular starter, but the architect of coach Abdoulie Bojang's tactic, in a setting where coaches usually trust top-tier, semi-professional and professional players for virtually any team selection, is not just interesting and surprising, but equally, inspiring.Rashid is the first young player from his village - Gunjur, to have been consistent in the national colors at the youth level. There has not been any player from Gunjur who made more appearances for any national youth team like Rashid. That in itself is a milestone achievement already. The versatile lad was the only second-tier player in the team (U-20) that represented the Gambia in the CAF U-20 Championship. Of all the games he started, he helped his side maintain a 100% winning streak without conceding a goal. That run ended in the final which he missed due to suspension after he picked a red card in the semi-final against Nigeria. The Gambia went on to lose the final against neighboring Senegal. His replacement Bailo Bah was altogether below par, and, Rashid's alter-ego in midfield - Mahmud Bajo missed his rhythm. The defense line equally missed the usual protection in tougher situations as Senegal put two unanswered goals to clinch the title at the expense of the Young Scorpions. Perhaps a moment of justification for the people who perceived Rashid as the key player for the U-20. If anyone banks on this as a defense mechanism for their claim, considering how Senegal tilted The Gambia's midfield that day, they can have good ammunition to fire at opponents in any debate. But, that is a case of its own and, for another time.What is clear is that Rashid's path to the limelight is altogether an interesting realistic story, not a fairytale! Surviving the psychological trauma of being brought up by a single parent to playing for academies in both Gambia and Senegal and taking the risk of playing Divisional football at just 15 years for a struggling side, and, fitting well in a setting where he is one of the youngest, is truly an amazing journey. BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEYThe journey has been a remarkable one, remarkable as the Scorpions performed in their maiden AFCON appearance in Cameroon - only if you know that story. If there is any percentage of luck in Rashid's journey, that will not be more than 10%, most of it could be credited to commitment, bravery, and respect for the game. 'All I do is to train and relax because my focus is to become a professional footballer' he said.'Growing up as an orphan as I lost my dad who was the provider for the family at a tender age, I knew the onus of the family would rest on me, so I need to work hard.' 'And any community that you go to in the Gambia, you will find a very good talent. What matters, in the end, is hard work, patience, and respect for your leaders. There's no magic in football, it's all down to commitment and hard work and that has been my focus' he told GFF Media.Born in Gunjur, a footballing community in the West Coast Region on the 23rd of September 2005. Rashid, like any young boy in the village, will go on to play football in childhood for fun. Little did he know at the time that will someday change his life. And that did not take any longer. Rashid's talents were noticed at a young age by local summer football teams in Gunjur. Many came knocking, but Red Star F.C. the most successful club in Gunjur convinced him to join their camp. He was taken to the Gunjur United academy which is managed by the then coach of Red Star - Babucarr Kakai Bojang. And Rashid soon became a key figure for the U-15s.THE TURNING POINTWhile playing for the Gunjur United Academy, Haruna was scouted by a Senegalese agent who took him to the Africa Foot Academy in Senegal after agreements with Gunjur United. Aged 13, Rashid went on to become the captain of the U-15 of the Dakar-based academy. But, he only spent two seasons there as he returned home after the Covid outbreak. And, then returned to Gunjur United, and joined the first team in the Gambia Football Federation second division league as their youngest player in the 2020/21 season. largely coming as a substitute, Rashid still managed to score 8 goals and made four assists, making him the youngest player to have achieved such a feat. His side - Gunjur United narrowly missed out in the qualification for the top tier league, losing 2 -1 to Team Rhino in the play-off in what was their closest attempt as they finished 4th in the league. In his second season in 2021/22, Rashid had a glittering campaign. For the season, he scored 16 goals from his position as a supporting striker. Since then, the young star started grabbing national attention and ultimately the big moment came at age 17. DREAM COME TRUE'I used to watch the Gambia U20 with my friends on TV. I will only watch the first half and tell them I am going for training, I want to also play at that stage someday.'He was clear about his dream and he worked towards it. And, it soon turned from a dream to a real-life situation. In just his second season as a second-division player, he got his first call-up to join the U-20 for trials. The moment he has long dreamed of, and, who will expect a player as hungry as Rashid to miss the opportunity. He impressed beyond expectations and got selected in the squad that represented the Gambia in the WAFU Zone A championship in Mauritania in 2022 and came out as runners-up - losing 1 - 0 to Senegal in the final. Rashid was largely a substitute in that tournament. But, he will work hard to change that. Another call came, this time from the CHAN team (U-23). Rashid traveled with the team to Morocco for a doubleheader against Guinea Bissau in the qualifiers in July 2022. Unfortunately, they missed out on penalties after a one-all aggregate. Rashid was the only player to have erred in the shootout as Bissau went on to win 5 - 4. But that did not overshadow what has been described as a 'great achievement' for the youngest in the midst - a raw talent from division two. Tall, well built, pacy, skillful, and clinical with a strong dual foot and great vision and ability to protect and retrieve the ball, Rashid will continue with the U-20 squad. His ability to operate effectively in different positions, coupled with his discipline and great work ethic will soon make him a distinct figure in coach 'Lie' Bojang's set-up.Playing in a more unaccustomed position - offensive midfield, Rashid proved a mastermind in a position that would have been new for any player in his situation.Yet, he was one of the revelations of the tournament, stepping in to support his side with excellent technique and vision. He provided security and stability all the way to the semifinal against Nigeria. Rashid and his partner were vital components in a midfield that proved too clever and quick for most opponents. Rashid and his U-20 teammates will travel to Argentina in May 2023 for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Another moment for him to prove his worth, this time on the global stage.If he should come back with a contract from any European team after the World Cup, that will not be any surprising. Perhaps the least a quality player like him deserved. Rashid's rapid growth does not come with any favor from anyone. If there is any secret, that will be hard work, commitment, focus, and discipline he has shown all through his journey. A great player is in the making!
Not an entire sigh of relief. But this was a moment that rekindled some hope for the Gambia whose chances would have been in total danger if the results had gone otherwise. In what was his ‘44th cap’ for the Scorpions, Gambia's captain Omar Colley proved the hero when it mattered the most. He nodded home the game’s only goal – his first for the National Team, to keep The Gambia's chances of qualifying for the 2023 AFCON alive, as they defeated Mali in round four of the qualifiers. It was a near hopeless situation for many supporters, after the Gambia suffered back-to-back defeats, in round two and three, to Congo and Mali respectively. What better way, then, to give the team, supporters, and the nation a much-needed boost than beating a highly rated side – Mali, who were on the back of three successive wins and would have qualified even if they were able to grab a point against Gambia. Gambia’s coach Tom Saintfiet has always been on the receiving end of criticism for his 'defensive tactics' and team selections. But the Belgian has always vindicated himself with not only the historic qualification of the team to last AFCON but equally reaching the quarter-finals. Those were enough moments to shut down any critic. But this time around, it was the critics who were vindicated. Tom and his ‘Catenaccio’ approach were all at sea in the first leg against Mali in Bamako. He put up a highly defensive minded team that ended up losing 2 – 0 to Mali. And the Belgian once more handed himself to the critics and he was not able to withstand the pressure for the critics. In this return leg, which was played in Morocco due to the ban on the Gambia stadium by CAF. The Belgian switched to a more proactive approach, starting with four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. This proved effective. The Gambia were good both at the back, in midfield and attack. The result is a justification. This was no sheer luck, it was well earned by a somewhat dynamic squad. Omar Colley was not just fantastic because he was the goal scorer. He was the inspiration of the team, while Musa Barrow, Ali Sow, Assan and Alieu were trying to execute the plans orchestrated by Alasana Manneh and his alter-ego – Hamza Barry in midfield. The general cohesion of the Gambian team was commendable. With this win, critics will say they’ve done a good job by criticising Tom’s approach in the last game. Who will question that, they are absolutely right! But they will say ‘give the devil its due’. The credit of this victory cannot be taken away from Tom. It was his substitutions that helped the team maintain their balance upfront and the assist came from a substitute. Now that some life has been injected into the wire, and left the group wide open. That means some hopeful situation. The scorpions have their destiny squarely with their grips. A maximum six points in their remaining two games, will mean an automatic return to the AFCON for the second successive time. Even if Tom and his charges can manage four out of the possible six, they still stand a great chance to qualify. This however, will be determined by the outcome of the other games. The Gambia will first travel to South Sudan in June 2023 for their penultimate qualifiers, before hosting Congo in September for what will be a possible decider in Banjul – Provided that the Independence Stadium is ready. If Tom can build on the flair at his disposal, he is likely going to get more positive results. The body language of the Gambian players in this game was a clear indication that they prefer a proactive approach to a reactive one. If they are capable of ending Mali's 22 years of dominance over them with their first win since 2001, then they are capable of setting even much better records which will help enrich Tom Saintfiet's CV. Are we going to see Tom sticking with an attacking approach, perhaps yes, given the need for victories in the remaining games.
The Gambia U-20 came into this semifinal with so much weight on their shoulders – twice losing at the same stage in 2007 and 2021 and facing seven-time record champions, Nigeria. It was truly a moment of uncertainty.And, the Young Scorpions exceeded their wildest dreams with a performance of quality and discipline that send shock waves across the 36 states of Nigeria as they condemned the Flying Eagles to an emphatic 1 – 0 defeat.And again, it was the magical Adama Bojang, who makes the difference with a delightful strike just after 7 minutes that send the Gambia to a first-ever final of the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. They inflicted shock, pain, and disbelief on a population of over 200 million people who will be cursing forward Ahmed Abdoulahi for missing a penalty in the closing stages that would have drawn Nigeria back on level terms. The Gambia will now take on Senegal in the finals on Saturday 11th March in what is going to be a clash between neighbors.THE APPROACH THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCEIf there is anything that deserved credit for this win, is the tactical discipline of the Gambian side. From start to finish, they stayed committed to their style and refused to be intimidated by the achievement of Nigeria.The Flying Eagles had been hailed as one of the most exciting teams in the tournament which was clearly seen in their performance in this game and the ones before, a proof of their positive, refreshing approach.Yet, against the Young Scorpions in this all-West African clash, they came up against a complete discipline and intelligent side that accorded them the respect they deserve from start to finish, but, denied them the space they so ruthlessly exploited in their games against Mozambique and Uganda.It was a simple game plan, brilliantly orchestrated by Mahmud Bajo and executed by his teammates like fellow midfielder Rashid Njie, and center-back Alagie Saine.And in the end, The Gambia reserve the right to boast of showing to the world how to stop a serial champion from reaching a stage they considered their own as Adama Bojang makes the difference.UNSTOPPABLE ADAMA BOJANGThe Steve Biko starlet struggled at the group stages for goals leaving coach Abdoulie Bojang with homework to figure out why the marksman was not doing what he is quite known for – scoring. And, so too the supporters were asking.But, in the quarterfinals, he was unstoppable, marking his presence in the competition with a hat trick, making him the first Gambian to score a hat trick in any CAF competition. Again, against Nigeria, the young star was in the limelight.For the most part, Nigeria’s hard-pressing left Adama Bojang isolated in the lone strike position and chances were not forthcoming on his path. And, Adama and his Gambia side proved that one opportunity was all that was needed to penetrate Nigeria.More like a gift, Onuche Ogbelu’s clearance ricocheted off the head of Ebrima Singhateh and fell to the path of the unmarked Adama Bojang. Knowing that they are playing against record champions, Bojang took advantage of the chance like it was never going to come again. He Outran two Nigerian defenders and curled into the bottom corner for the breakthrough.Bojang now scored four goals in the tournament only sitting second in the top scorers’ chart, one adrift of Senegal’s Pape Diop who scored five. The Gambia’s young forward reportedly caught the attention of many teams in Europe including Tottenham and Nottingham. His spacing and clinical ability makes him a standout forward, now that he scored a goal that knocked out the big giants, this could mean renewed interest from more club.This was a great day and a great moment for the Gambia, but it has a moment of an eclipse as Gambia's reliable midfielder Haruna Rashid Njie was sent off for a second yellow card offense in the 89th minutes. A more accustomed 10-player who has been used as a central midfielder throughout, performed beyond the expectation of not only the coach, but the entire scorpion's fans. Considering the dynamics of the team, this might not be a great miss for coach Abdoulie Bojang, but, Rashid once more proved his worth even against a dominant Nigeria side. DOMINANT BUT TOOTHLESS Nigeria knew they had pride and a reputation to protect, seven-time champions, twice runners up, and five times finishing as bronze medalists, as such they showed a performance that left the Gambia running for cover for the larger part. They were dominant, yet toothless. It took them 29 minutes to cause a major threat when they nearly leveled matters after a mixed up at the Gambia's back between the rushing keeper Pa Ebou Dampha and Moses Jarju, but Nigeria's attempt went just wide off an unguarded post even though recovering Gambia's captain Alagie Saine was willing to handle the ball to prevent it from scoring as he stretched a hand towards the ball, but luckily for him, he missed what would have earned him a straight red. Nigeria continued to dominate but could not find the means to beat past the Gambia's keeper Pa Ebou Dampha whose high sense of alertness, magnetic catch, and aerial ability makes him a realistic contender for the goalkeeper of the tournament's award. In the 86 minutes, Nigeria was handed a golden opportunity to level the tie after a controversial VAR review adjudged Pa Ebou Dampha to have brought down Abdullahi in the box for a penalty. Substitute Ahmed Abdullahi who plays for K.A.A Gent in Belgium, agonizingly hit the base of the post from 12 yards, and the Gambia who feel cheated breathe a sigh of relief. That was not the end of the drama. The Gambia were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, when midfielder Rashid Njie who was booked for decent in the 84th minute after the penalty decision, received his second yellow in the 89th minute for what the referee described as a high booth.At that moment, it was too little too late as the Nigerians were not able to stage anything meaningful even after the addition of five minutes. The Gambia's back four and their goalkeeper were as solid as the Berlin Wall. 21 attempts without a goal, Nigeria were truly toothless as the Gambia reach a historic milestone achievement. Ladan Isah Bosso, Nigeria's coach before the game said his side are 'no South Sudan'. That is true, given the difference in quality, but, they were equally not able to stop the Gambia from scoring, nor were they able to penetrate them. He was forced to swallow his words by the dynamic Young Scorpions, who are still yet to concede a goal, no surprise their goalkeeper Pa Ebou Dampha was awarded the man of the match. The Gambia will now take on Senegal in the Senegambia derby in the finals. Senegal has proven itself as the best team in the tournament, scoring 12 goals without conceding any yet, that is enough justification to label them as legitimate title contenders. But, this Gambia side are dynamic and does not care about the reputation and achievements of their opponents. With their pragmatic coach Abdoulie Bojang, they are quite capable of producing any shocker. It will be interesting to see how that game will end.
The Young Scorpions of the Gambia ripped South Sudan into pieces to reach the U-20 AFCON semifinals and qualify for the May 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Crossing the quarterfinals stage was the 'primary target' of the young scorpions and they achieved it in the wildest fashion, effortlessly thrashing the Bright Stars of South Sudan 5 - 0. The result means the Young Scorpions will now take on Nigeria in the semifinals on Monday 6th March and equally, they will serve as one of Africa's representatives in the 2023 FIFA U-20 world cup which will take place in Indonesia. BEGINNING OF THE MISERY!Gambia's Adama Bojang failed to score at the group stages but this was purely his show. He ended his goal drought just after 7 minutes when he controlled Alagie Saine's long pass and fired past the Sudan goalkeeper Godwill Simon, to signal the misery that awaits South Sudan.Moses Jarju then glanced home a free header after a fine corner from Salifu Colley and Kajally Drammeh embarrassed the Sudan left-back before squaring a pass to Adama Bojang who rolled into an unguarded net for his second and the Gambia's third goal. At that moment, South Sudan who were largely bystanders, uncharacteristically pedestrians, only showed panic and their body language started to bellow surrender. But they were not still able to minimize the damage as the Gambia added two further goals. Steve Biko's starlet Adama Bojang who is the first player to have scored a hat-trick in the 2023 Gambia Football Federation First Division League, ultimately found his scoring boots as he fired home to complete a hat trick after the rushing Sudan goalkeeper misjudged actions at the edge of the box.4 - 0, it was game over already but the young scorpions appeared as if they did not have South Sudan where they wanted them. They keep pressing and Mahmud Bajo intentionally deflected Muhammed Sawaneh’s shot to beat the Sudan goalkeeper Godwill Simon and rounded up a comprehensive 5 – 0 win for The Gambia. The Young Scorpions did not only prove their attacking strength which could greatly be credited to coach Abdoulie Bojang's decision of handing Modou Lamin Marong and Salifu Colley both attack-minded players a start but equally their defensive cohesion as they are yet to concede a goal. So long Sudan could be considered as a weak opposition, is one thing, but the all-around ability of this Gambia side is one thing not to lose sight of, and scoring five goals in a quarter-final game, could certainly send worrying signals to the next opponents.
The Gambia national U-20 male team has on Tuesday night departed for Cairo - Egypt, via Istanbul for the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.Coach Abdoulie Bojang and his team will continue their preparations in Egypt ahead of their opening group game on Tuesday 21st February in Alexandria. During the farewell, Bakary Badjie the minister for Youth and Sports hand the national flag to the team and urged them to defend the national colors. Lamin Kaba Bajo the President of the Gambia Football Federation assured the team of their support."The GFF will continue to collaborate with the Government to support your development and career. We believe in your team spirit as you represent our beloved country, The Gambia" the GFF President said. The Young Scorpions will open their campaign against Tunisia on February 21st, before taking on Zambia in the second game on February 24th, and wrap up their group games against Benin on February 27th.
Gamtel/Gamcel became the first side to have snatched a double in the history of the Gambia Volleyball Federation Beach Volleyball championship.Both their male and female team registered victories in the finals of 2022/2023 Beach Volleyball to make Gamtel/Gamcel the first side to have achieved the feat in a single season. The pair of Fatou Kinteh and Anna Marie Bojang of the Gamtel/Gamcel female team proved too strong for their opponents Mariama Ginado and Maimuna Bangura of the Gambia Police Force, beating them in two straight sets 21 - 18 and 21 - 10 to clinch the title in the women's category with a 2 - 0 win. In the male category, it was a keenly contested clash. Jahara Koita and Omar Jarra of Gamtel/Gamcel were given a real run for their money by Muhammed Jallow and Ousman Senghore of Olympafrica. In the first set, Olympafrica sent a shock wave to beat Gamtel/Gamcel 21 - 16. But Gamtel/Gamcel make amends to convincingly win the second set 21 - 9 to level the tie and send the game into a tie-break. In the deciding set, Olympafrica were not able to muster the energy as Gamtel/Gamcel beat them 15 - 11 to win the tie 2 - 1. A double delight for the telecom giants, this sends signals of the need for heavy investment in the teams by the management of Gamtel/Gamcel.
Danish side AC Horsens has signed Gambia U20 captain Alhagie Saine on a six-month loan deal. Reports indicated that the club had agreed to extend the deal for an additional three years after the loan period depending on the performance of the 19-year-old. Saine, who plays for Falcons F.C in the Gambia top-tier league is expected to join his new club in early February.This new deal came after the rocky center-back impressed the Horsens technicians in a successful trial at the club. The Gambia U-20 skipper will join the Scorpion centreback and compatriot Jamez Gomez who is a regular starter for AC Horsens.
Brikama began their campaign in the best of fashions when they battered the defending champions Gunjur 3 - 0 in the Super Cup final, to send a strong statement of intent, and proved their status as realistic title contenders.They built on that success to reach the finals unbeaten but were left in shock by a resurgent Sanyang side who rejoiced after clinching the title with a 3 - 2 victory on penalties after a 2 - 2 draw in regulation time.Playing in front of a frenzied home crowd at the Boxbar Mini-stadium, Brikama had all the advantage and had no point of excuse. One would have expected Sanyang to play with enviousness, but the visitors show no sign of panic from start to finish.‘I told my players that Boxbar is like a neutral ground’ Seedia Bojang the Sanyang coach said, and that statement was clearly justified by the aggression and bravery shown by the visitors who could have been two goals up if not for the heroism of the Brikama goalkeeper Ebrima Fadera, who saved two goal bound attempts from Lamin Tamba and Modou Lamin Marong.Ironically, the hosts who were largely under pressure broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime when Babucarr Sallah orchestrated a simple counter-attack down the right before whipping in a cross that was side-footed into the net by the unmarked Modou Lamin Ndow for a Brikama breakthrough.Even after the halftime team talks, Brikama were still not able to establish what they needed to do to stop the free-flowing and attack-minded Sanyang side, and it could have been 1 – 1 if not for the brilliant save from Ebrima Fadera who tipped over a powerful drive.But in the 51st minute, Fadera was not able to find his magic gloves, as the visitor drew back on level terms when the ever-improving and outstanding Lamin Tamba with his nimble feet and immaculate skills rolled home a close-range attempt to send the visiting supporters into raptures. And, in the 67th minute, Sanyang came close to adding to their lead when Khalipha Darboe had his tame effort beat the rushing goalkeeper but a recovering defender cleared the ball ‘off the line’. Sanyang appealed for a goal but the referee and his assistant ignored the roaring, as there was no VAR to help them review the incident.Sanyang were then punished for that miss, as Brikama made it 2 – 1 in the 76 minutes when Abdoulie Tamba out-jumped the Sanyang defender to nod home a corner kick.At that moment, Sanyang did not show any sign of despair, they keep attacking Brikama at every presentable chance, and ultimately in the 89th minute, they got rewarded when substitute Abdoulie Sima exploit the gap between two Brikama defenders to glance home last-ditch equalizers which send the game into a penalty shoot-out.During the shootout, Brikama’s goalkeeper Ebrima Fadera saved shots from Ousman Nyang and Muhammed Jallow but that was not enough as both Omar Jarju and Babucarr Sallah of Brikama had their shots rattled the frame before Sanyang’s goalkeeper Sarjo Bah crucially saved Lamin Saho’s shot to earned Sanyang a deserved 3 – 2 win.As champions, Sanyang were rewarded forty-five thousand dalasi, and gold medals, while runners-up Brikama settled for thirty-five thousand dalasi and silver medals.Sanyang would not have been forgiven by their supporters should they lose the final for the second time in a row and that would have been unfair even.But, they put smiles on the faces of their fervent supporters by shocking Brikama in front of their own supporters and make amends for losing the first edition to Gunjur. In the second edition, they are worthy champions, as they clinched the title unbeaten.
Steve Biko's young forward Adama Bojang became the first player to have scored a hat-trick in the 2023 Gambia Football Federation male Division One League. The goals came in his side's 4 - 1 thumping of last season's Football Federation (FF) Cup runners-up Brikama United in week two of the league.A forward who plays with incredible skill, creativity, and strength, first opened the scoring for the host Biko, before the visitors restored parity through Mustapha Drammeh.But the clinical forward added two further goals one of which was a penalty to complete a hat-trick and Yankuba Touray also registered his name on the score sheet for Biko. This was a second win on the spin for Biko and a second consecutive defeat for Brikama United.Nicknamed the 'giant killers', Biko brutally killed one giant and this was a breathless display, one that underlines their transition to the 'giant killers' they were once known for.
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