A feature, by Uthman AN Jeng
In a breathtaking display of determination and raw talent, the Gambia national football team (The Scorpions) secured a place in the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time, thanks to a heroic late-game changer by the powerful, energetic and towering striker Muhammad Badamosi.
The tall exuberant and imposing player is also endowed with a good body build that gives him a physical presence that commands attention.
His remarkable aerial prowess, flicks and headers are akin to the work of arts added to his precision movements that have now become legendary.
In this most important game of his life in Morocco, the stage was set for an epic showdown against DR Congo, but Badamosi who was on the bench watched in distress as Gambia trail by two goals in the first half with his colleagues seemingly caught in relentless waves of adversity.
The odds were stacked against them, but the spirit of Gambian football burned brightly.
They watched in agony a decision awarding a dubious penalty to the Congolese during the first half, which cemented their lead and cast doubt over the referee’s impartiality.
As the match continued, the Gambian players found themselves at the mercy of the referee’s decisions again when the he turned down two penalty appeals crowning the collective frustration of the players on the pitch and Gambians thousands of miles back home.
Muhammed Badamosi magic
Just when dooms day looms, with Gambia still trailing 2-0 Muhammed Badamosi, a name etched in Gambian football folklore, emerged from the bench, with an air of expectancy and typical exuberance, hungry to provide his services at critical juncture.
Moments after stepping into the pitch, Badamosi, with his raw talent on full display, delivered a flick header that set up young Yankuba Minteh’s goal in the 78th minute, igniting hope and signaling the start of an epic comeback.
But the story didn’t end there for this lad, for as the clock continued to tick towards gloomy direction for the Scorpions Badamosi, with the reflexes of a tiger, rose to the occasion once again. With another flick of the head, he redirected the ball with unparalleled fineness to hit the net at the tail end of the encounter, leaving the Congolese goalkeeper rooted on the spot and involuntarily admiring Badamosi’s brilliance.
With that sensational header, Badamosi brought The Gambia leveled, completing a remarkable comeback from a two-goal deficit. The very few Gambians in that Marrakech stadium and tens of thousands back home erupted in jubilation, celebrating a qualification that will be etched in history.
This qualification is not just about football; it’s a story about triumph over adversity, of a nation that refused to surrender. The journey to Afcon in Ivory Coast is now a reality, and it’s a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Gambia national team (The Gallant Scorpions).