Ahead of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Costa Rica 2022 qualifier against Burkina Faso, Gambia coach Foday Bah says it’s important for his girls to make best use of their home advantage.
The Young Scorpions will battle against their Burkinabe equivalents on Friday 24 September at Bakau’s Independence Stadium at 16:00 GMT.
The two teams were given byes in the preliminary round of the qualifiers which has seen a record total of 40 teams registering as they bid for Africa’s two places at the tournament.
“I always like to play the first leg away then come back home but nonetheless if you can get what you want at home you don’t worry about the away fixture,” Bah told CAFOnline. “It’s very important to win the home matches if you want to qualify to the next stage.”
The Young Scorpions have been busy intensifying their preparations at the Independence Stadium in Bakau and Gambia Football Federation Technical Training Centre in Yundum.
“The girls have improved very well,” added Bah, who also coaches Gambia’s most successful men’s football club Wallidan FC.
“We have been working very hard over the past weeks - we played four test matches against the senior national team and Leeds United’s U-15 boys as we build up to the first leg against Burkina Faso.”
The Gambians will need to be at their optimum best to see off Burkina Faso over the two legs but Bah says his focus is on his team.
“Our focus is our style of play – what we want to do and if we can execute that on the field then we will be fine,” he noted.
“I like to know my opponent but for the Burkinabe I don’t know anything about them and at this level it’s difficult to scout on your opponent.
“We’ve been working on our tactical aspect of the game, the style of play and trying to score goals as much as we can, that’s why normally we do finishing every day at training.”
The match against Burkina Faso comes on the heels of the successful 2022/21 Women’s leagues and the coach believes the qualifiers will serve as player development pathway for his girls.
We’re working on player development and that’s the focus right now. You can see 15 players from the last Women’s U-20 squad were called up to the current senior national team, and that’s the purpose of getting these young players, and giving them an opportunity to play in the qualifiers and develop for the senior national team.
“We’re trying to develop these young girls - though they’re very young and inexperienced but we’re working very hard with them and they are doing very well with the help of the senior national who are giving us test matches which really motivates the team,” Bah concluded.