AFCONQ: Bright Stars looking sharp ahead of Gambia test

AFCONQ: Bright Stars looking sharp ahead of Gambia test
Bright Stars will face off with the Gambia on Saturday. [Photo: SSAF]

Bright Stars will step onto the grass at the Stade Lat Dior tomorrow, May 4, with beaming confidence to face the Gambia in the African Cup of Nations Qualifier.

Though the fixture will be against an opponent ranked 13 places above South Sudan in the FIFA world ranking, a clash on a “neutral ground” in Senegal and two victories in the last two competitive fixtures are expected to trigger confidence in Stefano Cusin and his men.

 Even though the game will be played in Senegal, Gambia will host it due to the lack of a FIFA-approved stadium in the country.

South Sudan is ranked 161 in the world, just four places above the worst performing team in the globe – Sao Tome and Principe.

Even though Cusin is aware of the clash with a gritty opponent, he will sit pretty knowing that he has a lethal striking force that often does not blow away any opportunity that comes their way.

This was evidenced in the game against Djibouti when he managed to pump five goals past the opponents.

About two months ago, South Sudan stunned the bookers when they beat Djibouti 4-2 away, in the first leg of the last round of qualifiers. In the game which came barely three days after a 1-0 victory at home, Tito Okello scored a brace to hand his side maximum points on the road.

Okello joined Bright Stars camp in Senegal after flying straight from Iran where he is based at the moment.

Though he missed the draw against Sudan in a buildup ahead of tomorrow’s game last week, Okello has been finding the back of the net frequently.

The former Gor Mahia striker (Kenya) scored his opening goal to wind up the season with a goal for the Carmakers (Paykan SC) against Mes Rafsanjan at home.

Okello will be a key player to look out for against the Gambia.

Cusin will also rely heavily on William Gama who scored a last-minute goal in a historic victory against Djibouti.

Confidence grows

Equally confident is a Gambian side that drew 1-1 draw with the United Arab Emirates last week.

This result means that the Gambia has lost just one of eight matches this year.

That run of the form includes a quarter-finals place in the first-ever Africa Cup of Nations debut early this year. They were knocked out of the competition by hosts in Cameroon.

Though bookmakers favour the Gambia as a clear favourite to win this fixture, they will face off an improved South Sudan side at a neutral venue of Senegal in a match that can go either way.