‘We do not want our dream to end’: Gambia hoping to keep Africa Cup of Nations run going

·2 min read
The Africa Cup of Nations has reached the quarter-final stage (AP)
The Africa Cup of Nations has reached the quarter-final stage (AP)

Head coach Tom Saintfiet insists Gambia have no intention of letting their Africa Cup of Nations dream end ahead of their last-eight clash with Cameroon

The Scorpions have enjoyed a thrilling debut and face the hosts in the first quarter-final at the Douala Stadium on Saturday.

They beat Guinea 1-0 on Monday to set up a showdown with Cameroon, surviving Yusupha Njie’s late red card to go through.

Saintfiet, who has also managed Trinidad and Tobago, Togo and Malawi, is now eyeing another shock as Gambia look to reach the last four.

“It’s already fantastic to be in the African top eight, but when you’re there it’s because you deserve it,” the Belgian said.

“We do not want our dream to end even if it is Cameroon, a great team and in addition it is the host country.

“It is fantastic what is happening to us. I don’t know if people remember that we started from the preliminaries against Djibouti.

“Then we qualified by finishing in first place in our group against Gabon, DR Congo and Angola, teams ranked higher than us. Here, we beat Mauritania and Tunisia (1-0) and drew against Mali (1-1), it’s exceptional. Currently, we are in the quarter-finals after eliminating Guinea, it is simply a dream.

“We want to win this quarter-final. We know it won’t be easy. Against Cameroon, all the players are available, it can help to get a good result. Cameroon are big favourites, we have to relax and play our football.

“We worked well for three and a half years, we created a group that knows our strategy, that pulls in the same direction. Everyone understands our way of working, the players, the staff, the Federation and the supporters. I’m really very proud.”

Burkina Faso face Tunisia in Saturday’s other quarter-final at the Roumde Adjia Stadium.

Mondher Kebaier’s Tunisia scraped into the knockout stage from their group but then produced the upset of the last 16 to beat Nigeria.

It is the first meeting between the sides since the 2017 quarter-finals, when Burkina Faso won 2-0.

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