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18.05.2005 Football News

Gambia'05: Osam Doudo Hails Gambian Players

Gambia'05: Osam Doudo Hails Gambian Players
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Gambia coach Fred Osam Doudo has hailed his players for reaching the final of the African Under-17 Championship after they beat South Africa 2-1 in Tuesday's semi-final in Banjul.

The hosts will take on Ghana in Sunday's decider after the west Africans defeated the Ivory Coast 2-0 in the first semi-final on Tuesday.

"I am pleased with my boys for carrying out my instructions well to beat South Africa and reach the final and the World Championship in Peru," Gambia coach Doudo told BBC Sport.

"It is a big achievement for the Gambian boys."

The top three African sides at the Under-17 Championship qualify automatically for the Fifa Under-17 World Championship in Peru in September. The Baby Scorpions scored twice in three minutes to turn the semi-final around after they went 1-0 down in the first half.

The South Africans had played well in the first half and opened the scoring after 18 minutes when Amos Sibeko, played in by Mkhanyiseli Siwahla, sent Gambia goalkeeper Bakery Njie the wrong way.

"We made a lot of errors against South Africa that cost us a goal but we were able to rectify our mistakes," Doudo said.

The tournament hosts created numerous chances in the second half but it wasn't until the 48th minute that Nyassi Sainey drew them level as he fired home from the edge of the box.

Moments later, Momodou Ceesay capitalised on a defensive blunder and chipped over the advancing South African goalkeeper Thapelo Mabokgwane to take the Gambians to their first final.

"The Gambia defeated us because they were the better side and I want to congratulate them for reaching the final," South Africa coach Serame Letsoaka told BBC Sport.

"Our focus is now to clinch the remaining qualifying place for the Under-17 World Championship and we are going to fight very hard to beat the Ivory Coast and take that spot."

The third-place play-off be played in Banjul on Saturday.

The Ivory Coast lost their semi-final after Awudu Abubakari and Opoku Agyemang grabbed goals for Ghana in the second period of extra-time.

"I'm happy we won and I think we deserved to win," Ghana coach David Duncan told BBC Sport.

Ghana will be appearing in their third final, having won the previous two they have contested.

Ghana and Gambia have already met in this year's competition, when Ghana beat the hosts 1-0 in the group stages.

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