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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: 'We were little thumbs, outsiders' - The Gambia coach Saintfiet reacts to historic win

16:17 GMT+3 13/01/2022
The Gambia celebrate Afcon win.
The West Africans were playing their first-ever match in the competition and marked their debut with a victory

The Gambia head coach, Tom Saintfiet, has reacted to his country's historic win against Mauritania in the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday in Limbe.

The debutants picked up a 1-0 win in a Group F match courtesy of a goal scored by Ablie Jallow in the 10th minute, and the Belgian coach has described the Gambia as a small country with quality players after the vital victory.

"We were the little thumbs, the outsiders, a small country but with quality players, competitors at heart," the coach said in his post-match reaction, as captured by CafOnline.

"We will try to win each match, by not putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We are realistic. We won our first historic Afcon match. It’s amazing what happens to us when we look in the rearview mirror."

Moussa Barrow, The Gambia's captain who scooped the man of the match award, said he is proud of the work delivered by his teammates.

"It is an honour for me to be the man of the match for Gambia's first Africa Cup of Nations game," said Barrow.

"My colleague scored an extraordinary goal which delivered a whole nation. We will continue to play match by match and look for a place in the second round. I am happy and proud of our collective work."

On his part, Mauritania coach Didier Gomez Da Rosa, described their start to the encounter as a timid one and said they were punished because of the mistakes they committed.

"A timid start to the match, complicated by too much technical waste," the former Simba SC head coach said. "We made a lot of mistakes, we paid for them dearly with this goal, which came very early.

"We're not looking for excuses, it's a shame that we missed the start of the game. We are going to look for another game system, another animation that will cause problems for Tunisia during the next match."

Mauritania will face Tunisia - who lost their group opener to Mali - while the Scorpions will play Les Aigles in their next group games.