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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: ‘The Gambia's future looks bright’ – Cherno Samba lauds Scorpions despite Cameroon loss

06:13 IST 30/01/2022
Gambia, Cameroon
Notwithstanding the Scorpions’ elimination from Cameroon 2021, the ex-England youth international is in awe of Tom Saintfiet’s men

Cherno Samba has described the Gambia players as "heroes" despite their 2-0 loss to Cameroon in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final clash.

Lifted by their triumph over Gabon in the Round of 16, the Scorpions needed to negotiate their way past the Indomitable Lions to earn a semi-final ticket.

Unfortunately for them, that ambition faded into thin air as Karl Toko-Ekambi’s second-half brace powered the hosts through at the Japoma Stadium in Douala.

Asked if he was saddened that the fairy tale of Tom Saintfiet’s men has come to an end, the former Gambia international expressed his delight with his compatriots’ performance – insisting the future looks promising for the West African country.

“I’m not disappointed because they have made us all proud. These players are all heroes,” Samba told GOAL.

“We were not the best team today as Cameroon dominated us. But the future looks bright for the Gambia and I’m excited to for the country of my birth.

“Hopefully,” I can help in assisting some talents to top clubs.”

The former Malaga and Plymouth Argyle striker believes the Scorpions were undone by their sluggish display as well as fatigue – having in mind they played for 120 minutes against the Panthers.

“I feel it was a combination of both, they look lethargic at times, however saying all this Cameroon were just too strong for us,” he continued.

Following their historic qualification for their maiden Afcon, Saintfiet's contract was extended by five years by the Gambia Football Federation,  with the new deal running through the end of May 2026.

Assessing the Belgian tactician's future, the 37-year-old wants him to remain at the helm of affairs since he lived up to expectations.

“I believe he [Saintfiet] has done more than enough to continue, we need to remember that he got us to this point,” he added.

“And from experience, staying with a coach and giving it time mostly works out. He knows the players and it’s always good to have a great rapport with the players and he seems to have it.

“When it’s not broken, don’t fix it! This has always been my thought.”