A win will redeem Gambia's World Cup hopes but that depends on the Scorpion's acumen to withstand test of strength from Ivory Coast tomorrow at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium local time 5: pm.
On a freefall as they settled at the group basement with a single point, Mancini and troop will need to do a daunting but doable task of pulling a major shock on the Elephants of Ivory Coast to pick all points if topping the group is Gambia's objective. While it will be error of judgment to pull strings of comparing the two teams, with Ivory Coast undoubtedly the pre-match favourites, as the elephants boast of the Toure brothers of Manchester City in their rank and an avalanche of others premier league heavyweights. But Gambia is an outfit that is slowly gathering confidence and the comprehensive victory over 2013 African Cup of Nations participant Niger, affirms this.
A goal from captain and stopper Abdou Jammeh, defender Mamadou Futty Danso and striker Momodou Ceesay was enough to bump up the Scorpions personage following a dismal surprising defeat to minnows Mauritania earlier this month. Strings of late withdrawal of players hit either side including huge omissions that grabbed news paper back pages. Didier Drogba's inclusion could alter results any moment in a game but Ivory Coast has grown feathers and cap and showed they can do without the legendary Chelsea old boy: the AFCON is evident to this as the Galatasaray attacker struggled for match form. The Elephant coach still has six more lethal front men who can change match score line when the occasion demands.
On the Gambian ticket, coach Mancini will enter the fray without some key players and the void could trigger an all defensive setup in midfield. New Vosko signing Ebrima Sohna and fellow defensive midfielder Yankuba Ceesay will inevitably swarm the midfield after Tijan Jaiteh is mysteriously axed with Mustapha Jarju's inexplicably excluded. One of either Sulayman Marr or Hamza Barry -all home-based payers-could used to supply the passes in the midfield in the absence of Demba Savage whose availability is in doubt. The formation against Niger could likely be maintained with Saihou Gassama and Montreal's Sanna Nyassi expected to run down the wings.