Gambian Football Team Safely Lands in Yamoussoukro Amidst Turbulent Journey

The Gambian national football team has successfully arrived in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, overcoming internal issues and a technical problem that forced their plane to turn back after takeoff from Banjul Airport on January 10. The Scorpions touched down on Ivorian soil on January 11 at 7 p.m.

Having boarded an Air Côte d’Ivoire plane shortly before 4:30 p.m. GMT, the Gambian delegation displayed enthusiasm and composure throughout the journey, even participating in a photo session on the plane.

The aircraft safely landed in Yamoussoukro at 7 p.m. Upon arrival, the team was welcomed by a delegation representing the administrative authorities of the Lakes Region, the AFCON mascot, members of the AFCON 2023 organizing committee, and journalists.

This successful arrival comes after the team faced a challenging situation when their plane had to return due to a loss of pressure and oxygen in the cabin.

Despite the initial fears expressed by coach Tom Saintfiet, the Gambian Football Federation has assured that all members of the delegation are in good health.

The team’s tumultuous start to the week, marked by a training session boycott over a qualification bonus, has been followed by a resolution as the Ministry of Sports confirmed the payment of the bonus.

President Adama Barrow’s intervention played a crucial role in facilitating the team’s departure, engaging with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara to arrange for a larger plane to land in Yamoussoukro, where the team will be based.

Air Côte d’Ivoire contributed to the safe travel by dispatching an Airbus A319 to Gambia for the team’s transportation.

This incident comes on the heels of The Gambia’s notable performance in the previous AFCON, reaching the quarter-finals in their debut appearance.

The Scorpions are now gearing up for their first match against reigning champions Senegal, with Cameroon and Guinea completing Group C.



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