In an apparent move to reassure fans back home and elsewhere on the continent, after losing in their opening match with the Iranian side, the assistant coach of Gambia's Under-17 team, fondly called the Baby Scorpions, has expressed optimism that the team will pass through to the second round despite having gone down in their shocking defeat in the hands of their opponents.
Assistant Chief Coach Lamin Sambou made this remark during a post-match press briefing in the Nigerian city of Calabar, after the young Scorpions were stung 2-0, by Iran, as part of the ongoing FIFA Under-17 World Cup championship, on Sunday. He said, "We will play to secure the three points that we need to qualify from our group."
Acknowledging that an error on the part of the team was responsible for their defeat, Coach Sambou pointed to the fact that the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test conducted had also affected his side, as the entire members of the team which won the African championship were disqualified. He noted that they had to raise a whole new team of players who are making their debut at such a major international tournament.
His Iranian counterpart, however, had encouraging words for them, noting that despite been reduced to nine players in the pitch, the Baby Scorpions remained resilient. Ali Doosti, who described the Gambia as their main opponents, joyfully recognized that his team’s two-week camp in Senegal, a country that happens to neighbor Gambia, had eventually paid-off, as it offered them the chance to adapt to the African weather.
"Today we defeated Gambia; we will also concentrate on other matches and win them," Ali Doosti told reporters through an interpreter.
According to the tournament’s schedules, the Gambia will meet the Netherlands on come Wednesday, Oct. 28, while Iran will lock horns with Colombia same day.