At first, many people thought it was Zambia. Zambia was not an unfamiliar opponent, but The Gambia was too unfamiliar. We didn’t know anything about them except that they played African soccer. The unfamiliarity, the vagueness of not knowing our opponent, cast a shadow of anxiety. 스포츠토토 On top of that, the Gambia had shut out Honduras in their previous games and had even taken down France, so they were good. Our final group game at the U-20 World Cup ended 0-0, but the Gambia had the advantage in possession. They also had more threatening shots.
According to the Financial Times, Gambia’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2021 was $772, the lowest in the world. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Gambia’s poverty rate was 53% in 2022, higher than in 2019 (45.8%).
The country’s soccer legacy is also minimal: it ranks 120th in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The country has never played in a World Cup, but there has been growth in recent years. It made its first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in its history. At the U-20 World Cup, it topped its group and went undefeated to reach the round of 16.
The popularity of soccer, dependence on soccer, and aspirations for soccer transcend the size of the small, poor country. The Gambian soccer league is a three-division system, albeit a poor one. Soccer can be used as a ladder out of poverty. Promising players are consistently being courted by European soccer. Striker Adama Boazi (19) has already been targeted by major European clubs for his performances in the African regional qualifiers.
The Gambia became a British colony in 1783 and gained independence in 1965. For the British, the Gambia’s geography was a major advantage. It bordered the Atlantic Ocean, making it a good transit point for resources and slaves from Africa.
Soccer spread around the world with the invasions of the Western capitalist powers. Soccer was also used as a way to manage the newly conquered countries. It was a good tool to communicate the need for order and discipline to the people in the colonized countries.
Ironically, the same soccer that was used as a form of governance for colonizers now became a beacon for the world to see Gambia, a little-known country. That’s why we’re keeping a close eye on Gambian soccer’s journey to the round of 16.