There is optimism now reverberating around the Gambia national team especially after a prepossessing showing away in Lome.

By Sulayman Bah

It took a moment of sheer seven-minute brilliance for on-fire FC Zurich striker Assan Ceesay to spur the Scorpions in the driving seat by netting the game’s first goal, his fourth for the Gambia in four international matches.

The goal woke up the Togolese from their slumber more so after the Sparrow Hawks thought their adversaries for an easy ride team in spite of the qualities in their midst.

Coach Tom Saintfiet, intent on administering some lessons to forget on his former side –Togo –, though did not have his wish fulfilled but will travel out of the West African capital with his reputation unblemished.

The Belgian showed loyalty is cardinal by sticking with the lineup that drew Algeria in Banjul.

Victory would have seen an end to Gambia’s 35-year wait for an away win.

Striker Ceesay had the hosts going berserk with his early goal as the Scorpions appeared on the cusp of picking all points for once before kamikaze defending seven minutes from game’s end had Togo equalizing 1-1.

Notwithstanding the last-gasp goal that spared Togo of their blushes, it was a brave display from a team tagged almost West African football whipping boys, a description not helped by Gambia’s non-Africa Cup of Nations or World Cup qualification.

With two points now in the bag coming of three outings, the Scorpions only need to kill off a job started in Lome by spanking Togo tomorrow at the Independence Stadium in the second-leg to begin to believe that the qualification that has so eluded them for decades is realistically attainable.

Never before has enthusiasm swum Gambia’s path this way since in 2008.

There is a horde of options available to ensure effective execution of Togo’s complete annihilation tomorrow with scoring no longer a source of headache for Gambia.

Group D  Table Standings                        

Teams  Matches Wins Losses  Points
     1. Algeria Three   2     0    7

2.     Benin

Three   1     1    4

3.     Gambia

Three   0     1     2

4.     Togo

Three   0     1     2

 

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