The coach of The Gambia’s Under-20 team has said “our time will come” after his side lost Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) final 2-0 to Senegal in Cairo.
Souleymane Faye and Mamadou Camara scored the goals against their neighbours and rivals as the Teranga Lions claimed their first title in the U20 age category.
But it was more disappointment for the Scorpions who also lost in the 2021 semi-finals against Ghana.
“The team did very well,” Gambia coach Abdoulie Bojang said after the final.
“At the last Under-20 Afcon we took bronze, and we took silver in this one.”
“Let’s all be behind the team giving them moral and financial support and assure them that we will keep on doing better and one day our time will come.”
The team is expected to receive a big reception from supporters when they arrive back the capital, Banjul, on Wednesday morning.
For Senegal, victory continues an impressive run for the country’s teams over the last 12 months.
In February 2022 they won a maiden senior Afcon title, beating Egypt in the final, before also claiming the beach soccer title in October, the African Nations Championships in Algeria earlier this year and now the U20 title. Senegal’s women also made the play-offs for this year’s World Cup, although they missed out on a place at the finals.
“This is just another trophy for Senegal. We played a very good game but also played against a very good Gambian team,” Senegal U20 coach Malick Daf said after the victory.
“Our primary objective was to qualify for the World Cup.”
The four semi-finalists from the tournament all qualify for this year’s Fifa Under-20 World Cup, set to begin in Indonesia in May.
Senegal, The Gambia, third-placed Nigeria and Tunisia will find out who they will face when the draw is held later this month.
The biennial tournament is being staged for the first time in four years after the 2021 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ghana are the only African team ever to win a global title in the U20 age category, back in 2009.