Serekunda east mini stadium, The Gambia
International test match
Gambia v Glasgow girls
Scottish women’s football club Glasgow girls fc played the final game of their historic football tour against the Gambia women national team. It was the first time in 3 years the gambian squad had played and the first time facing opposition outside of west Africa. The tour, used to promote women’s participation in football, has brought in over 8000 men, women and children watch the 4 games.
A crowd of around 2500 turned out to watch the game with the contest evenly posed at 1-1 after 3 games. The crowd included a VIP section with members of the Gambian football federation executive committee, the British high commissioner and esteemed members of the Gambian football world.
With temperatures in the high 30’s at kick off it was agreed to have water breaks, 1 in each half. The friendly crowd greeted both sets of players with enthusiastic applause as they entered the arena. Having now been in The Gambia for a week Glasgow girls had picked up many admirers and fans, which was evident by the cheers. The game kicked off with both sets of players eager to take the scalp. Glasgow girl’s started the stronger and were able to pressure the Gambian side high up the pitch. This pressure paid off as they won a corner from the left hand side. They had proved their dominance at set pieces in the previous 3 games of the tour. A back post ball found its way to Leigh Ferrol who took the ball under control and calmly slotted home for the lead on 11 minutes. At the restart Gambia, who were clearly surprised by start, were able to get the ball out wide to their danger players and in particular the number 7, Fatou Darboe. However, after some sustained pressure and half chances Glasgow girls were able to get themselves back into the game. As they did, on minute 33 Gambia struck after a defensive error allowed Isatou Jallow to take the ball and slot passed the goal keeper. Glasgow Girls restarted the game and endeavoured to regain momentum but the physical demands of applying pressure made this difficult. With half time approaching the game remained even until the referee blew her whistle for the end of the half.
In the second half Gambia came out eager to stop Glasgow girls dominating possession and opted for a high paced physical approach. A number of heavy tackles were dished out by the Gambians and with emotions running high the game lost its fluidity. Glasgow girls continued to dominate at set pieces and had a number of chances to apply pressure on the Gambian goal but the Gambian defence, led by Fatou Fatty remained solid. After the water break both teams pushed for the win but it was a day that defence won over attack.
At the final whistle, with game tied at 1-1, the teams faced off in friendly penalty shoot out, but as the light became the enemy conditions became difficult. It was Gambia who held their nerve winning 5-4.
Amid jubilant scenes both sets of players embraced each other and shared in the glory of this historic football tour. Members of the press rushed to get the attention of players and coaches now immortalised in football history. Players once ignored by the media were now the centre of attention.
The tour ended with 1 win, 2 draws and a defeat for Glasgow girls fc.
Organiser of the tour, Martin Myers of Adventure Kicks and Fifa licensed match agent said ”what we have witnessed over the last 7 days is truly historic and we hope that everyone will embrace the achievements of Glasgow girls and the Gambian teams they faced. We have to pay a huge mark of respect to Jim Strathdee, club chairman, for his role in this project and thank him for his leadership throughout. We also have to thank our hosts and partners the Gambian Football Federation, Gambian Women’s Football Association, Sang Mendy and Gilcock football academy. This was truly a team effort and one that will live long in the memories but most importantly, I’m confident, will lead to an increase in female football participation”.
In addition to the games the club participated in an international training camp used to exchange coaching ideas and expertise as well as a community coaching day (in Brufut) promoting fifa’s #liveyourgoals campaign. Fifa themselves will promoted the tour by featuring in the Fifa weekly publication.