Cameroon better be careful of Gambia’s lethal Scorpion sting

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Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon during Cameroon against Comoros, African Cup of Nations. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon during Cameroon against Comoros, African Cup of Nations. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

SPORT


The ongoing Afcon has already witnessed several upsets and all eyes will be on Gambia to see if they can continue their giant-slaying act at the continental championships in Cameroon.

The debutants, who are also the lowest ranked team in the competition, face hosts Cameroon in a fixture that will get the quarterfinals under way on Saturday.

Guided by former Free State Stars coach Tom Saintfiet, Gambia have been the surprise package after they progressed to the knockout stage without defeat in a group that had powerhouses Mali and Tunisia.

The Scorpions beat Tunisia and Mauritania by 1-0 margins each and held Mali to a 1-1 draw before they sent fancied Guinea packing in the last 16 stages.

Their sweet success story has been attributed in large part to the astuteness of Saintfiet, who was appointed in 2018.

Despite a brief coaching spell to forget in the PSL, which lasted for 10 matches with Ea Lla Koto during the 2014/15 season, the 48-year-old Belgian cuts a cult hero status in Gambia.

One of his technical staff members is Mamelodi Sundowns conditioning coach Riedoh Berdien, who works with the Scorpions on a consulting basis.

READ: The incredible story of Phiri and The Flames

The tricky quarterfinal at Japoma Stadium in the city of Douala on Saturday will pit two of the tournament’s best players against one another.

While Cameroon have been thriving on the goal-scoring exploits of captain Vincent Aboubakar, his Gambian counterpart Musa Barrow is the man behind the Scorpions’ deadly sting.

Saudi Arabia-based Aboubakar is the tournament’s leading goalscorer with six goals, while Barrow, who plies his trade for Italian Serie A side Bologna, has two goals.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will face the Gambians at the back of a dark cloud after eight fans died in a stampede during the hosts’ last 16 match against Comoros on Monday.

The tragedy occurred when a large crowd – estimated to be 50 000 –attempted to gain access to Olembe Stadium despite the 60 000-seater arena operating at an 80% capacity due to Covid-19 health and safety restrictions.

The stadium, which is located in the Cameroon capital Yaounde, has been temporarily suspended from hosting matches pending an investigation into Monday’s disaster.

Afcon quarterfinal fixtures

Saturday

Gambia vs Cameroon, 6pm

Burkina Faso vs Tunisia, 9pm

Sunday

Egypt vs Morocco, 6pm

Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea, 9pm


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Daniel Mothowagae 

Deputy sports editor

+27 11 713 9001
Daniel.Mothowagae@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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