Assan Ceesay scored two goals in two minutes as the Scorpions came from behind to beat Angola 3-1 in their opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at Estádio 11 de Novembro in Luanda on Wednesday.
The victory marked Gambia’s first competitive away win in 36 years.
Angola took the lead in the first three minutes courtesy of Wilson Eduador. Gambia, though, hit back with two goals from Assan Ceesay as they held a narrow lead at the half-time break.
Angola improved following the interval, but Gambia’s defensive line held firm before Sulayman Marreh put the icing on the cake with an 89th minute strike to hand the visitors a memorable victory.
Gambia faces DR Congo next in a Group D clash in Bakau on Monday. A match many fans are expecting the Scorpions to also win in order to stand a good chance of qualifying for the African Cup of Nations for the first time.
“I am really happy with the way the team played against Angola,” says Modou Lamin Nyassi. “I think the coach has played his tactics well this time and I hope he will continue like this for the entire duration of the qualifiers.”
For Musa Fatty, another fan, “The head coach is lucky to have a strong squad like this. He has all the players that the country needs to qualify for the first time, so let him be tactically wise to select the best ones in their rightful positions”.
“I have been wanting to see the Scorpions in the AFCON for a long time now,” says Nuhu Adams, a Ghanaian sports journalist and African football expert. “It’s too early to celebrate because their home record is a suspect. They always fail at home when it matters most. In the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, they managed draws at Togo and Algeria.”
“At home it was a loss and draw against these same opponents. Hopes were so high because Gambia had beaten Morocco and Guinea in pre-AFCON friendlies. I think it’s too early to celebrate.”