The Gambia will play friendlies against Comoros and Kosovo as part of preparations for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, the Gambia Football Federation has confirmed. Tom Saintfiet’s men will take on the “Les Coelacantes” before facing the “Dardanians” for their warm-up games to Cameroon 2022.
Afcon debutants Les Coelacantes will provide the opposition in Antalya on June 5 before the Scorpions square up against the Dardanians six days later at the same venue.
Before those games, coach Tom Saintfiet’s men will travel to Turkey for a training camp in May.
According to the West African country, the upcoming fixtures will help the Belgian tactician experiment with tactics ahead of the biennial tournament scheduled for Cameroon.
“The importance of this training camp cannot be overemphasized in the sense that it will allow the coach and technical staff to invite new players and experiment with his team selection and tactics ahead of the Afcon as well as avail them to assess the ability of the players that would potentially cut the finals,” a statement from the GFF website read.
“It should also be noted that due to club commitments, national team players do not usually have much time to spend together and prepare for matches, thus depriving them of the opportunity to examine the real strength and depth of their teams.
“Thus, this camp will not only ensure the team has ample time together. It will further allow the coach to continue nurturing a common understanding of where the team wants to be and how to approach matches at the Africa Cup of Nations and other upcoming competitive matches depending on the type of opposition.
“It will help in improving our current Fifa ranking of 152 to avoid the gruesome experience of a preliminary round in the 2023 Afcon qualifiers.”
Saintfiet helped Gambia end their wait for a maiden appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to their 1-0 defeat of Angola at the Independence Stadium, Bakau – an exploit that saw the 48-year-old’s current deal extended by five years.
The Belgian was appointed as head coach of the West African country in July 2018 after managing African teams Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Togo.