Preview: Gambia vs. Seychelles – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Gambia vs. Seychelles – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s World Cup Qualifying – Africa clash between Gambia and Seychelles, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Winless Gambia and Seychelles battle at Stade Municipal de Berkane on Saturday, keen to record maximum points in World Cup qualifying.

Both sides lost their two games in November 2023 and aim to end extended runs without winning, even if it would do their prospects of making it to the global showpiece little good.

Match preview

© Reuters

Second-bottom Gambia have lost World Cup qualifying matches to Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire in the lead-up to Saturday’s match with Seychelles.

The fixtures were played last November, with the former ending 3-2 and the fixture with the Elephants ending 2-0 to the side that would reign supreme on the continent three months later.

Despite guiding them in the opening fixtures of qualifying last November, Tom Saintfiet left his role as Gambia’s head coach after five years to be replaced by Johnathan McKinstry.

The new boss aims to end the Scorpions’ five-match losing run in which they have fired blanks in three, failing to score against Ivory Coast (2-0), Senegal (3-0) and Guinea (1-0).

While the fifth defeat of the ongoing sequence came against Cameroon at AFCON 2023 — a match they led 2-1 heading into the final three minutes of the 90 — McKinstry will seek to use that match as motivation, even if it held months back without him being in situ.

If Gambia’s situation appears desperate, their opponents might be in worse shape before Saturday’s meeting in Berkane, Morocco.

Seychelles have conceded 14 goals after 180 minutes of football at the start of qualifying, losing 9-0 to Ivory Coast and conceding five in their last competitive fixture against Kenya in November.

Those heavy defeats mean Ralph Jean-Louis‘s men have lost five on the trot, failing to score in four matches.

A deeper look into the Pirates’ results show that 11 of their last 13 international matches have been defeats, underlining the tiny nation’s struggles.

Unlike their opponents, who have some recent history at the Cup of Nations, Seychelles have never qualified for any AFCON finals and are unlikely to make their World Cup debut as they already trail the table-topping pair of Ivory Coast and Gabon by six points.

Thus, simply avoiding defeat in Berkane will be received positively for a nation with one win in eight years.

Gambia World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:

Gambia form (all competitions):

Seychelles World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:

Seychelles form (all competitions):

Team News

Gambia's Musa Barrow celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 16, 2022© Reuters

Gambia’s captain Omar Colley is in the squad to face Seychelles and Gabon, and the nation’s highest-capped player should play a pivotal role, with former Bologna forward Musa Barrow also included in McKinstry’s squad.

However, local media have reported that Hamza Barry, Jacob Mendy, Baboucarr Gaye, Ibou Touray, Alagie Saine, Ebrima Darboe, Assan Ceesay and Ali Sowe are absent due to injury issues.

Tyrone Cadeau, 19, could make his Seychelles debut on Saturday, a year after joining Kidsgrove Athletic.

Brandon Labrosse and Warren Mellie netted in the Pirates’ loss to Zambia last year, the last time the away side have scored in competitive action, and both are included in this month’s internationals.

Michael Mancienne, a former Chelsea defender, was the goalscorer in Seychelles only win in the last eight years — a 1-0 success over Bangladesh in March 2023 — but the defender has now retired from football and is unavailable.

Gambia possible starting lineup:
Jarju; Sanneh, Ceesay, Colley, Gaye; Manneh, Bobb; Jallow, Barrow, Minteh; Badammosi

Seychelles possible starting lineup:
Tsiahoua; Marie, Ladouce, Mellie, Cissoko; Cadeau, Payet, Raheriniaina; Labrosse, Henriette, Waye-Hive

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We say: Gambia 2-0 Seychelles

Despite their struggles, Gambia should have enough quality to defeat an opponent that have won just once since 2016.

Seychelles are on a 14-match losing run in World Cup qualifying, failing to score in nine of such games, and they are unlikely to prevent a 15th loss this weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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