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WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: Gambia Makes Historic Strides in Latest FIFA Ranking

The Gambia Women’s National football team

The Gambia Women’s National football team became the newest addition to the women’s world ranking, making their debut at 17 in Africa and 113rd globally in the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking released on Friday.

Such progress in this year’s first quarter of the women’s world ranking, is earmarked the country’s best-ever position achieved in her brief women’s football history having played five games against officially ranked teams (2 friendlies and 3 competitive) between December 2019 and March 2020.

The latest ranking means the “Queen Scorpions” are doing better than 15 other ‘officially’ ranked nations in the continent and 46 others globally in Women’s Football.

In September 2018, the Gambia made her first ever admission into the global rankings by FIFA; gaining 30 position in the Confederation of African Football and 158 globally after participating in her maiden continental senior qualifiers.

     Gambia Women’s National football team

Since then, the country went into an unjustified year of inactivity since bowing out to Nine-time African champions, Nigeria (currently ranked 1 in Africa and 38 globally) in the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Coach Mariama Sowe and her ladies were then left idle for 376 days by their national football federation without activity; missing three to four FIFA international breaks outlined for Women’s football calendar.

And according to the World Football governing body, teams that have not played more than five matches against officially ranked teams and/or inactive for more than 18 months, will not be considered in the ensuing rankings.

However, on 15 June 2019, the “Queen Scorpions” marked their return to the international fold in a double-header friendly with Guinea Bissau at home after Ethiopia failed to honor their invitation at the eleventh hour. The outcome of the both friendlies were a 1 all draw in the first leg and a 2 – 1 defeat to the host in the second leg, four days later.

      Coach Mariama Sowe

Six months later (18 and 22 December 2019), both Gambia and Senegal football federations agreed to a maiden Senegambia women’s football friendly but the visiting Gambia team bowed to their neighbors in consecutive defeats in four days.

Two months later, it was a relatively better performance when the team participated in the first edition of the revitalized West African Football Union (WAFU Zone A) Senior Women’s football tournament. The Gambia made a group stage exit after they managed just one win against their familiar foes Guinea Bissau but lost to Mali in their opener and Liberia in the third encounter.

The tournament, hosted by Sierra Leone in the Cities of Makeni and Bo, was played from 25 February to 7 March this year in which Senegal (currently ranked 11 in Africa and 87 globally) was crowned champions with a 3 – 0 emphatic scores against Mali (currently ranked 9 in Africa and 83 globally) in the final.

The Coaching Staff and players of the “Queen Scorpions” of the Gambian squad will hope to improve on their games performance when a new date is announced for the next Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifying rounds. The qualifications were scheduled to start in March 2020 but the Coronavirus outbreak forced the continent’s football authority to postpone the activity till further notice.

     Striker Adama Tamba is one of key players for National Women’s football team

The next fifa ranking is expected in July 2020 although football activities across the world have been put on hold to contain the wide spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

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