Africa: Gambia U-20 Coach M'Boge - We Call It 'The Group of Life'

Gambia U-20 coach Mattar M'Boge says his boys have been drawn in the 'group of life' following the draw of the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations, Mauritania 2021.

The Young Scorpions were drawn in Group C alongside top seed and former FIFA U-20 World Cup champions Ghana, Tanzania and Morocco.

M'Boge masterminded the Gambia's return to the tournament by winning the WAFU-A qualifying tournament against hosts Senegal in November 2020 after missing the last four editions since their group stage exit in South Africa 2011.

"For us it's a fair draw, instead of calling it the group of death, we call it the group of life because whenever you play against any of these teams you are going to be so energized and motivated to put on a good show," M'Boge told CAFOnline.com.

"I think if people were to assess and call it the most difficult group, I would agree with it because you have the champions of WAFU-A (Gambia), champions of WAFU-B (Ghana) and North African champions (Morocco) while Tanzania came second in the East African zone.

"We know that Ghana have a huge pedigree at youth level, they're the only African team to have won the FIFA U-20 World Cup. We also know level of football Morocco are going through; they're one of the biggest countries in African football.

"Everybody in Ghana and Morocco is going to be watching the games, the same in Tanzania. These are all football big nations," he added.

M'Boge's philosophy attacking football has won him a lot of praise and support back home and he relish the challenge against big teams.

"Football is huge in all those countries just like it is here, so it's a big opportunity that's all we're looking at, it's a positive mindset and a big opportunity for all of us and the players know definitely."

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) is expected to have the team camp in Morocco before they travel to Nouadhibou where they will play all their group matches.

"Our first game is in three weeks, it's not all of time but it's still good enough time to get everyone together and make sure that the squad is fine tuned so as to represent the country as best we can," M'Boge explained.

The Young Scorpions coach is hoping to add some of the country's exciting overseas talents to his ranks before their pre-tournament training camp in Morocco.

Captain James Gomez of Danish side AC Horsens and Serie A duo Ebrima Darboe (AS Roma) and Musa Juwara (Bologna) are all eligible to for the tournament which will be played from 14 February to 4 March 2021.

"We are negotiating with some of the clubs in terms of the players' release. We want to make sure everything is okay with the travel restrictions and that they will be able to travel with us to Morocco and Mauritania," M'Boge concluded.

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