***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 11 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall you learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Gambia, which recently qualified for their first Africa Cup of Nations, but has never qualified for a World Cup.
Keeps kicking its balls into Senegal and the big fat jerks never give ’em back
Nickname: The Scorpions
FIFA Ranking: 150 (Dec 2021)
Gambia would love to get better at soccer and climb above the mid-100s in the FIFA rankings, but every time it goes outside to play soccer it ends up kicking the ball over the border into Senegal and the big fat jerks on the other side never throw it back. Bordered by Senegal with an Atlantic Ocean shoreline in the west, Gambia is a 480 km long strip of land that at its widest point stretches a mere 30km from north to south. This makes any attempt to practice their volleys, do ‘David Beckhammmmm…’ free kicks or god forbid, play a full 5-a-side game just so god damn annoying, because anytime there’s an errant pass, miskick or basically any time Belarus-based striker Dembo Darboe touches it (that guy sucks, everyone knows it) the ball invariably flies over the fence and into Senegal. Once this happens, that’s it, Gambia never sees that ball again.
How is Gambia ever going to get better with this crappy set-up outside? If everytime it touches the ball it goes into Senegal? GOD. It’s so annoying. They had hoped to move to a place with a bigger yard when it moved out of Senegal in 1965 but France and Great Britain just totally screwed them over. Sure, the place they live in now is better than nothing, but the size thing’s just so freaking annoying.
GOD. Sometimes Gambia wishes they were never born.
One to watch: How well the team age (SOMEONE TELL ME THEIR SECRET!)
They say smiling keeps you young, which may be the reason the people in the tiny nation of Gambia–known as the ‘Smiling Coast of Africa’– look so good for their age. Gambians, and in particular their U-20 footballers are no different, with their ages belying their babyface appearances. The thing is, the African Football Confederation (CAF) doesn’t agree and attributes the players’ youthful looks less to their round-the-clock smiling, youthful exuberance and devil-may-care attitude but more to age fraud and specifically the falsification of the ages of five Under-20 players in the Under-20 African Championship. In 2014, CAF couldn’t handle Gambia flaunting its young, tight bods around the continent anymore and handed the Gambian national football association a 2-year suspension from all CAF competitions, in line with Article 37 Paragraph 1 of the regulations of the U-20 African Championship. Let’s be honest though, the real reason is that they’re probably just jealous.
The Highpoint: AFCON 2021 Cameroon (ongoing)
Competing at their first African Cup of Nations, Gambia not only advanced from the group stage but they also claimed the scalp of North African heavyweights Tunisia, defeating them 1-0 in their final group game. At press time the team are about to pit themselves against Gambia in the round of 16, with the winner to advance to the quarter finals.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS CAMEROON 2021
Jan 12, 2022
MAURITANIA 🇲🇷 x 🇬🇲 GAMBIA
Jan 16, 2022
GAMBIA 🇬🇲 x 🇲🇱 MALI
Jan 20, 2022
GAMBIA 🇬🇲 x 🇹🇳 TUNISIA
Jan 24, 2022
GUINEA 🇬🇲 x 🇬🇳 GAMBIA