Gambia overcomes “food poisoning”, stuns Guinea to reach historic quarterfinal
Bologna striker Musa Barrow’s 71st minute strike was enough to propel impressive Gambia to a first-ever quarterfinal in their history.
Each member of the team is now $10,000 richer, bonuses promised ahead of the fixture by FA president Lamin Kaba Bajo.
The fairy-tale continues for the debuting West African nation which won Mauritania 1-0, drew 1-1 with Mali and shocked Tunisia (1-0) to finish second in group F.
Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet however did it the hard way as his starting lineup was ruined in the nick of time in Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam.
“Ibou Touray just pulled out of the game, together with Noah Sonko and Saidy Janko, all three have food poisoning and cannot play,” Gambia football body said within one hour of kick-off.
Gambia also complained about accommodation conditions since arriving the western town of Bafoussam for the Round of 16.
“In one of the apartments [of their hotel], there is one main entrance with three separate rooms with two players in each of the rooms with all six of them forced to share single toilet and bathroom,” a statement by their association said.
“If one player tests positive for Covid-19, his roommate will automatically miss the upcoming game. Six players to share one sanitation risks the health of the players concerned.”
Gambia’s Yusupha Njie and Guinea’s Ibrahima Conté were sent off after picking two yellow cards each.
The Syli Nationale were without marksman Naby Keita, suspended after accumulating yellow cards. Guineans fought back, scoring an equaliser before it was cancelled out for offside.
Other attempts met with a watertight defence with defenders throwing their bodies to block the ball from entering.
Coach Kaba Diawara’s homebound side picked up four points following victory over Malawi (1-0) and a barren draw with Senegal. They lost their last group match 1-2 to Zimbabwe in Yaounde.
Guinea has reached the last eight twice and was runner-up in 1976. The Scorpions will face either Cameroon or Comoros in the last eight.