Gambia Under-20 Coach Matarr M’Boge has challenged his team to be at their best if they are to make a strong start against an opposition in the shape of Morocco.
The Young Scorpions, making their first appearance in the Total U-20 African Cup of Nations in a decade, will entertain The Lions of the Atlas at Stade de Nouadhibou on Tuesday evening.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference, M’Boge is confident they can compete against the North Africans.
“For us the approach is very positive because we know if you have to start off with a team like Morocco, you have to be at your best from the first game. We know that they’ll bring out the best in us and I’m very much looking forward to the game,” M’Boge, flanked by his Captain Tijan Marr said at the presser.
“I feel we are under less pressure than them because they’re the favourites but it will be a good game and we will give our best to give our people back home and fans a reason to be proud.”
The Young Scorpions’ push for a place at the AFCON finals couldn’t have gotten off to a worse possible start when they lost 5-1 to hosts Senegal in the opening match of their WAFU A Cup. However, they regrouped and following a tense 2-2 draw in with the same opposition in the finals, the Gambians secured victory in a post-match penalty shoot-out to secure a place in the AFCON.
“I just feel an overwhelming sense of pride in terms of getting here after a difficult qualification. That shows the quality and the mental strength of the team and we’ll use that in this tournament,” M’Boge continued.
He expressed gratitude to both The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) and their Moroccan counterparts for establishing a strong working relationship, describing the cooeration between the two Federations over the past years as brotherly.
He also thanked them for their exceptional hosting of the team for a ten-day training camp prior to the tournament. “We have a strong feeling with them that we are brothers and we had a very comfortable environment in the past [two] weeks.”
Captain Marr for his part said they’re very well prepared for the game, noting that the spirit is high within the camp. “Morocco is ahead of us in terms of football but we are here to compete and in order to be the best you have to beat the best,” he concluded.
/ 12 months ago
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