The Gambia came back from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw with Congo in Morocco on Sunday and book their place at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The match was being played in Morocco because Gambia have been banned from hosting international matches by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) until they upgrade their stadiums and was in doubt after Friday’s 6.8 magnitude quake, which forced both teams to evacuate their hotel rooms and sleep next to their respective hotel pools.
Coaches said the players had been traumatised by the effects of the powerful quake but were told by CAF to go ahead with the game, even though Morocco’s scheduled qualifier on Saturday was postponed.
Gambia staged an unlikely comeback with teenager Yankuba Minteh getting a goal in the 79th minute and then Muhamed Badamossi scoring on the stroke of time to ensure Gambia finished second in the group, behind already-qualified Mali, and denied a crestfallen Congo a place at the finals.
It is the second successive qualification for one of Africa’s smallest countries. At the last Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, Gambia caused several upsets before being eliminated in the quarter-finals.