It was a nightmare weekend for the Baby Scorpions after an intensive technical preparation leading to their first outing to Sierra Leone on a positive note when they eliminated their counterparts both home and away although Sierra Leone did not turn up for the return leg in Banjul after their 0-3 defeat in Bo City.
At the weekend game in Banjul, the hosts got off to a good start just a little before the visitors could contain them when they opened a trail of devastation for The Gambia after Nina Norshie opened the scoring after a scramble in the box. Ghana captain and nimble footed striker Abdulai Mukarama netted four goals with her first coming after 12 minutes. Although The Gambia made attempts at their opponent’s goal, many proved wayward as captain Ola Buwaro and Fatoumata Sowe pushed hard and the team were feeling the absence of playmaker Aminata Camara in the middle. Fatoumata Sowe got the consolation when she slotted in a brilliant curling free-kick from 24 yards. Ghana rounded off the scoring with Mukarama adding her fourth goal on the night.
The game ended 5-1 to Ghana to the delight of their Head Coach Evans Augustine Adotey who described The Gambia as a peace-loving football nation. ‘ I am happy that we won the game with a big margin and that will help us in our home game for the return leg’. He said the hospitality accorded his team and delegation was warm and ‘our people back home received the news that The Gambia was treating us nice and good’. Evans said he was able to prepare the team in only one month when he began scouting from across the regions in Ghana.
For The Gambia Coach Abdoulie Bojang, Ghana were the much better side but ‘we could have avoided the goals and that has really put our goal-keeper down but we have really learnt a lot from this game’.
Asked whether the tie could be turned in Ghana in the return leg, Bojang remarked that it could be ‘difficult but not impossible’. He however admitted that Ghana are the more experienced side and have strength over the Gambia.
Team captain Ola Buwaro said they are disappointed with the performance ‘ because we did not play as expected. Ghana scored us early and our spirits were down’. She nonetheless appealed to the GFF to keep the team together for future competitions.
Continental favorites Cameroon and South Africa have also made giant leaps at the weekend qualifiers after huge wins away from home to Algeria and Botswana respectively at the penultimate matches. Cameroon galloped over Algeria 4-0 in Algiers while South Africa also toppled regional rivals Botswana 5-2 in Gaborone. Ethiopia held Nigeria at home in a 1-1 draw.
The Gambia will play their return leg against Ghana at the Cape Coast stadium in a fortnight.