Gambia coach Mattar M’Boge says his team is determined to improve with a better performance against Ghana in the semifinals of the ongoing Caf U-20 Nations Cup in Mauritania.
The Young Scorpions gaffer was speaking at a pre-match press conference today ahead of tomorrow’s last-four encounter against the Black Satellites with kickoff set for 4pm. The Gambians walloped Central African Republic 3-0 in the quarterfinals on Friday.
“I know that the Ghanaians will be in high spirit and improve to win this time, but it’s the same for us. We have to make sure that we keep doing all the good work we did and even better so that we see ourselves in the final, that’s our objective for this match,” he said, making reference to the two sides’ group stage meeting, which the Gambians came from behind to win 2-1.
“I think after playing them with that great performance now, my boys will be confident that yes we may not be better than them but we are as good as them and that’s the mentality we’re going to take into this game.”
M’Boge highlighted that his side has to improve and be better than they were if they are to beat Ghana again. With 90 minutes standing between the Young Scorpions and a place in their first ever finals, he further noted that to be one step away from making history is a bonus. However, he was quick to add that he’s not thinking about the records or comparisons but rather focused on playing and winning matches to go furthest in the tournament.
“The boys have an objective in this tournament and we are trying to help them achieve the objectives that they have set. So once everything is done and dusted perhaps, we can look into the record books but right now we are focusing on the game to win and get to the finals,” he asserted. “This team has already written their names in Gambian football history. Winning a trophy inside Senegal, Liberia, to be here the fourth consecutive semifinal, honestly those are chapters they’ve written in Gambian football history already. So, we are not thinking about the records right now but to help them achieve their objective to approach game upon game.”
The Young Scorpions were the only team in the quarterfinals to win their match in regulation time and M’Boge acknowledged that it shows the high level of competition in this tournament leading to extra time and post-match penalties. He added that his philosophy is always to play on the front foot, possessing and moving forward.
“We are a team that plays forward. We try to win football matches because we have the talent, we have the players. We don’t want to sort of hold and go for extra time or penalties. We’ve managed to win in the previous matches and we know it will be a different and difficult game against Ghana again and they could even be forced to change their style of play to contain us just like Morocco planned but whatever their approach will be, our goal is to remain humble, and win this match,” he concluded.
For his part, striker Momodou Bojang stated that the camp is in positive mood and they’re very focused and determined to win and play the final. The Young Scorpion added that he has set his sights on the golden boot awarded for the leading goal scorer of the tournament, as well as dreams of playing professional football in Europe and representing the senior Scorpions.