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Gambia enters Lion’s den

Cameroon have been on a high so far. PHOTO CAFONLINE

✳ Gambia v Cameroon 7pm
✳ Burkina Faso v Tunisia 10pm

Yaounde, Cameroon | THE INDEPENDENT | Debutants Gambia face hosts Cameroon in an unprecedented quarterfinal that promises a lot of excitement on Saturday in Douala.

The Scorpions challenge the Indomitable Lions for the quarterfinal clash of the ongoing TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.

Hosts and five-time champions Cameroon may seem like favorites, but they have to face an emerging force in continental football, The Gambia.

The Gambia made it all the way through the qualifiers starting from the preliminary round, passing a group that had DR Congo, Angola and Gabon to the finals, where they have drawn with Mali and beaten Mauritania, Tunisia and Guinea to reach the final eight.

Despite feeling the AFCON for the very first time, The Scorpions have shown that Cameroonians cannot even imagine taking them lightly.

Led by Belgian Tom Saintfiet, Gambia will look once more to the lethal striking force of Ablie Jallow and Moussa Barrow who netted twice each to the moment.

Three wins and a draw for hosts Cameroon guided them to the quarterfinals, where they face another debutant after going through fellow newcomers Comoros in the Round of 16.

Captain Vincent Abubakar led by example to the moment, scoring six goals in four games, to become the first player since 1998 to reach this milestone in AFCON finals. Now he is looking for even more while aiming with The Indomitable Lions for one more step towards the ultimate.

A sixth AFCON title is the dream of everyone in Cameroon, and coach Antonio “Toni” Conceicao knows well an uneasy game against Gambia is another hurdle to pass to achieve that dream.

In the other match, Burkina Faso locks horns with Tunisia in Garoua, as the two teams search for a place in the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.

Halfway towards the most prominent continental championship title, both Stallions and Carthage Eagles strive to move forward. The 2004 champions Tunisia hope for a second title in their history, while Burkina Faso is still dreaming of a first historical trophy, after finishing runner-up for the 2013 edition in South Africa.

Although they have never won the Africa Cup of Nations before, Burkina Faso is seen as one of the traditional teams in the tournament. The Stallions won third place in their last participation in Gabon 2017, then missed the last edition in Egypt 2019.

Burkina Faso will be armed with history against Tunisia, as this is the third time both teams face in the quarterfinals. The Burkinabe won the two previous matches, at home in 1998 and in Gabon 2017.

Having finished second in Group A, Burkina Faso needed a penalty shootout to overtake Gabon and reach the quarterfinals.

Despite qualifying with one win and two defeats, and among the best third-placed teams in the group stage, Tunisia team rebounded to perform huge in the Round of 16 against Nigeria’s Super Eagles, achieving a precious victory that secured their place in the quarterfinals.

This time, the Carthage Eagles hope to continue the dream, and reach the semifinals for the second time in a row, after Tunisia finished fourth in its last participation in Egypt 2019.

The Tunisians rely on experiences of stars Youssef Msakni and Wahbi Khazri, hoping that those returning from absence will add new strength in a tough match.

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SOURCE: CAFONLINE

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