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.
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.
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.
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
Gambia vs Cameroon, 6pm
Burkina Faso vs Tunisia, 9pm
Egypt vs Morocco, 6pm
Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea, 9pm