By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Gambia senior national team (the Scorpions) has been paired against Mali, Republic of the Congo and South Sudan for the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for a place in Ivory Coast 2023.
The draw was held today, Tuesday 19th April 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
It was conducted by African football legends, former South Africa defender Lucas Radebe and ex Côte d’Ivoire forward Solomon Kalou.
The Scorpions reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 African Cup of Nations in its first appearance before losing to host nation Cameroon 2-0. The will be hope to make their second appearance in the tournament.
The Gambia draw 1-1 with Mali during the group stage of the 2021 African Cup of Nations before going on to top its group with 7 points.
The Scorpions will be happy to have avoided house-hold names such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Algeria and Tunisia in the balloting for the continent’s bi-annual biggest football showpiece qualifiers.
The Gambia secured qualification to the group phase of the continent’s bi-annual biggest football fiesta qualifiers following their 3-2 aggregate win over Chad in their preliminary qualifiers played last month.
The Scorpions made their debut in the 2021 Africa Cup after finishing top-spot in Group D of the qualifiers with 10 points in six group matches.
24 teams are set to qualify for the group stage of the AFCON group stage.