Gambia: AFCON 2022 - Test Matches With Bigger Guns Will Strengthen Us - Pa Modou Jagne

13 April 2021

Scorpions Captain Pa Modou Jagne has said that the country should play more test matches with bigger guns such as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Nigeria to strengthen the country's national team ahead of the continent's bi-annual biggest football jamboree.

The 31year-old Jagne's comments came hot on the heels of the country's historic Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

Striker Assan Ceesay's solo match winner at home to Angola in a qualifier match played at the Independence Stadium last month with a game to spare, was with a feeling of relief that ended the country's 46 years attempts.

Belgium Coach Tom Saintfeit and his charges look forward to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals as Captain Pa Modou Jagne does not fancy being spectators in Cameroon.

He stated that more warm-up matches with big and favourite nations will be required to shape them well in the coming nine months.

"We have to get lot of international test games.

This is the time to prepare.

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) and government don't have to wait until it is one month or two to start doing things.

We have to start now; from all logistics to playing test games.

Not just any test games, we have to play with the best.

The likes of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal, our neighbouring country - now if we ask them for a test game, they won't turn us down because Gambia before and now is completely different.

If you don't compete with the best, you just forget it because the tournament will not be easy one.

But we have to play and learn from them because they have more experience.

It will be a learning process for us. Right now, every international break, we have to play a big test game, not just any test game."

Although the Scorpions will go into the finals as underdogs, the skipper is quick to warn that other countries should be aware they won't hesitate to cause upsets.

"We want to go there to represent Gambia, not just as spectators but to print our mark and get others to recommend Gambia in football.

Yes, we are going there as underdogs but let them prepare we are going to surprise a lot of countries, I can assure you."

Pa Modou Jagne led the scorpions to three wins and a draw in the qualifiers to finished top of Group D which includes Gabon, D. R Congo and Angola, having scored 2 from the 9 goals registered in the overall qualifying rounds.

The Gambia will know it is first Africa Cup of Nations group opponents when the draw officially rolls out on 25June 2021.

The tournament is set to begin on 9 February to 6 March 2022 in Cameroon.

"We are not afraid of anyone because football is 90 minutes.

Any country we are drawn against with, we are fine with it. We have lots of very young talented players coming up and we are ready," says the Gambian skipper, Pa Modou Jagne.

The Gambia's first-ever participation was in the preliminary rounds in 1975 but were eliminated by Morocco after a 2-0 defeat in the first-leg fixture played in Banjul and succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in the return leg in Rabat.

Before the historic qualification, the Gambia made 14 attempts in the qualifiers of the Africa Cup of Nations but failed, with two withdrawals in 1996 and 2000 due to financial problems.

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