Gambia have made it to their second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations finals. Yet, at the same time, this is only their second-ever AFCON appearance, and they are now 150/1 (151) to win the whole thing, with just four other nations sit behind them in the outright odds list. With no further ado, here's our Gambia AFCON 2023 preview.
How did Gambia qualify for AFCON?
Gambia secured qualification to a second AFCON in a row with a three-point gap on third-placed Congo and behind the Group G winners Mali by five points.
This also saw Gambia put together a record of seven goals scored and the same amount conceded, although they did lose two of the six matches.
Congo defeated them on matchday two, as Mali threw them down into third after three gameweeks with a win over them. Nevertheless, narrow victories over Mali, South Sudan and a draw with Congo on the final matchday saw them qualify.
Gambia AFCON 2023 Preview
Who will Guinea play at AFCON 2023?
Guinea have been drawn into Group C at AFCON 2023 where a spot in the top two automatic qualification spots looks like a tough ask, as reflected by the predicted placings in Group C.
Senegal won the last AFCON on penalties against Egypt and they head into this one in 20th of the FIFA World Rankings, putting them ahead of Morocco as the highest-ranked African side. In truth, Sadio Mane and co. remain the best side on the continent in 2023 and are the favorites to win back-to-back finals.
Cameroon hosted the competition back in 2021, finishing third after a loss in the semi-finals. Although the home fans were disappointed, Cameroon were not the best team that year and remain just behind the likes of Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Algeria as the best team at AFCON.
On the other hand, they did get one of their most famous results in history at the World Cup around this time in 2022, beating Brazil 1-0.
Although Guinea and Gambia will likely battle for third in Group C, Guinea should not be taken lightly at all. Captained by former Liverpool and current Werder Bremen man, Naby Keita, Guinea also has Serhou Guirassy leading their line after bagging 16 Bundesliga goals in just 11 games for Stuttgart.
How far will Gambia go?
As the favourites Senegal and another top side, Cameroon, sits in Group C, it’s tough to see how Gambia gets out of the group stages. Them and Guinea will most likely battle for third spot, which can still qualify a nation for the knockout rounds.
However, that is completely dependant on how other groups go, and in reality, we can see Gambia losing all three of their games and finishing in last place.
Gambia – Predicted AFCON 2023 XI
Modou Jobe is the most experienced player between the sticks for Gambia, and he will look to get caps 31, 32 and 33 at the finals, and hopefully more.
Gambia lined up in a back four with a midfield five in their most recent clash with Ivory Coast, and we should once again see Besiktas' Omar Colley partner Bubacarr Sanneh in central defence. Saidy Janko is the country's best right-back, and Jacob Mendy of Wrexham should carry on with left-back duties.
At 22, a lot of hope falls on the shoulders of Alieu Fadera in midfield, and he will play out on the left with Dawda Ngum, Alasana Manneh and Cardiff City's Ebou Adams all likely to play in central zones. Albie Jallow switches between the right wing and right midfield, but he may carry on in the latter.
Assan Ceesay is Gambia's all-time top scorer with an impressive tally of 13 goals in 35 games, and he will once again be the country's main man up top after a great season in the Saudi Pro League.