The Gambia Women’s National Team have been drawn against familiar opponent, Guinea Bissau, in the first round of the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
Wednesday’s draw in the Egyptian capital – Cairo, paired the Queen Scorpions with their familiar opponent and neighbours, with the double legged tie billed for April 2020.
Both teams have played four times in friendlies, with two wins (home and away) and two draws (this year at home) for the Queen Scorpions.
The Gambia will relaunch their chances for the maiden appearance to the showpiece event having fallen a step behind in the 2018 qualifying tournament to reigning and eventual record champions, Nigeria after eliminating Burkina Faso.
According to the Confederation of African Football (Caf), the first-round ties will take place in April 2020, with the first and second leg ties coming between April 6th and 14th.
Reacting to the draw, the Queen Scorpions captain Penda Bah, who plies her trade in Nigeria with 2019 champions Rivers Angels, said “This is a great opportunity for us to qualify, but Guinea Bissau is not to be underrated.”
“It’s now a matter of being together as a team and adjust in our preparation. With that, I believe we will qualify this time,” she said.
The winner from Gambia/Guinea Bissau tie will meet Ghana in the second and final round matches, between June 1st and 9th, 2020.
Women’s football coordinator, Sainey Sissoho M’Boge, said “This is our time to shine. The Gambia has a better chance to qualify for the first time and we will work towards achieving it.”
Meanwhile, eight nations have been handed byes into the second round, including defending champions Nigeria along with Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco, Mali, Ghana, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.
Eleven (11) winners of the second round will seal automatic qualification for the 12-team final tournament scheduled between November 23rd to December 1st, 2020.
It’s a record entry for the qualifying tournament after a total of 36 women’s national teams entered the fray for the 2020 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
The number surpassed the 25 teams that entered the qualifiers for the last tournament in Ghana.