The Gambia secured a second AFCON berth on Sunday (Sep. 10) after a tie against The Congo in Marrakesh’s Grand Stade.
The fixture took place despite a devastating earthquake that has plunged countless Moroccan families in mourning. Friday’s (Sep. 8) quake has killed at over 2,100 people.
Substitutes Yankuba Minteh and Muhammed Badamosi scored the two goals whereas The Congo had a 2-goal lead. The twist earned Gambia the lone point it needed to advance towards a dream second Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The Gambia ended the AFCON qualifiers ranking second on Group G that is headed by Mali.
The game took place in Marrakesh’s Grand Stade because The Gambia doesn’t have a stadium meeting international standards at home.
When the 6.8-magnitude quake shook late on Friday, Congolese and Gambian players hastily fled their hotel and slept on the streets like many Moroccans for fear of aftershocks.
Both teams’ coaches Belgians Tom Saintfiet (The Gambia) and Paul Put (The Congo), said their players had been traumatized but the Confederation of African Football decided the match would go as planned.
A dozen spectators, flags in hand, attended the fixture, in an almost empty venue.
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will kick off on January 13, 2024. The final will take place on February 11, 2024.