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Gambia women's national football team

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 The Gambia
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) The Scorpions
Association Gambia Football Association
Confederation CAF (Africa)
Sub-confederation WAFU (West Africa)
Head coach Bubacarr Jallow
First colours
Second colours
First international

The Gambia women's national football team represents the Gambia in international football competition. The team, however, has not competed in a match recognised by FIFA, the sport's international governing body, despite that organised women's football has been played in the country since 1998. The Gambia has two youth teams, an under-17 side that has competed in FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup qualifiers, and an under-19 side that withdrew from regional qualifiers for an under-19 World Cup. The development of a national team faces challenges similar to those across Africa, although the national football association has four staff members focusing on women's football.

The team[edit]

In 1985, few countries had women's national football teams.[1] While the sport gained popularity worldwide in later decades, the Gambia's national team only played its first game in 2007.[2][3] That game was not FIFA-recognised. As of March 2012, the team was unranked by FIFA,[4] and as of the following month the Gambia had not played in a FIFA-sanctioned match.[5] The team has not participated in major regional and international tournaments, including the Women's World Cup, the 2010 African Women's Championship or the 2011 All-Africa Games.[6][7][8]

The country did not have a FIFA-recognised youth national team until 2012, when the Gambia under-17 women's team competed in Confederation of African Football qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, to be held in Azerbaijan in September 2012. The Gambia had fielded an under-17 team of 24 players, narrowed from an initial pool of 49 young women.[9][10] Two girls from the SOS Children’s Village Bakoteh were chosen as a members of the team.[9] The Gambia first played Sierra Leone in a pair of qualifying matches for the tournament. Gambia won the first match 3-0 in Banjul, the Gambia's capital.[10] The return match was delayed in for 24 hours and played in Makeni.[10] The Gambia beat Sierra Leone 4-3 to qualify for the final round.[11] The Gambia then beat Tunisia 1-0 at home and won 2-1 in Tunisia. Adama Tamba and Awa Demba scored the Gambia's goals. Tunisia's only goal was a Gambian own goal. The win qualified Gambia for the 2012 Azerbaijan World Cup.[12]

The Gambia also has an under-19 team that was to play in the African Women's U-19 Championship in 2002. The Gambia's first match was against Morocco, but the team withdrew from the competition.[13]

Background and development[edit]

The development of women's football in Africa faces several challenges, including limited access to education, poverty amongst women, inequalities and human rights abuses targeting women.[14][15][16][17] Funding is another issue impacting the game in Africa, where most financial assistance comes from FIFA and not national football associations.[18] Another challenge is the retention of football players. Many women footballers leave the continent to seek greater opportunity in Europe or the United States.[18]

Gambia's national football association was founded in 1952, and became affiliated with FIFA in 1968.[7][19] Football is the most popular women's sport in the country, and was first played in an organized system in 1998.[19] A national competition was launched in 2007,[20] the same year FIFA started an education course on football for women.[2] Competition was active on both the national and scholastic levels by 2009.[2] There are four staffers dedicated to women's football in the Gambia Football Association, and representation of women on the board is required by the association's charter.[19]

Death of Fatim Jawara[edit]

In September 2016, Fatim Jawara, a player of the national team, left her homeland Serrekunda in Gambia and crossed the Sahara Desert to Libya.[21] In November 2016, she travelled with others on two boats across the Mediterranean Sea, heading towards the Lampedusa island of Italy.[22] Due to a severe storm, their boats sunk and Jawara drowned. She was 19 years old.[23] Her absence was first noted when the national team was due to play Casa Sports F.C. from Senegal as part of a festival to celebrate women's football. Jawara sought to smuggle herself into Europe, attempting crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat to Italy.[23] She travelled first to Libya, before boarding the boat.[21] Several days after the attempt, her family was contacted by the agent to inform them that her boat had capsized, and she had drowned.[23]

Reactions to her death[edit]


  1. ^ Chrös McDougall (1 January 2012). Soccer. ABDO. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-61783-146-1. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Goal! Football: Gambie" (PDF). FIFA. 21 April 2009. p. 3. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Saavedra, Martha; Centerfor African Studies, University of California, Berkeley (December 2007). "Women’s Football in Africa" (PDF). Third Transnational Meeting on Sport and Gender, Urbino. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "The FIFA Women's World Ranking". FIFA. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Gambia: Fixtures and Results". FIFA. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Groups & standings – All Africa Games women 2011". CAF. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Ballard, John; Suff, Paul (1999). The dictionary of football : the complete A-Z of international football from Ajax to Zinedine Zidane. London: Boxtree. p. 258. ISBN 0752224344. OCLC 59442612. 
  8. ^ "Fixtures – African Women Championship 2010". CAF. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Goal for the girls!". SOS Children's Villages International. 21 January 2012. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  10. ^ a b c "Sierra Leone host Gambia in FIFA Women’s U-17 qualifying match in Makeni". Sierra Leone Football. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Gambia beat Tunisia on the 1st lega of the Final Round". Gambia: Gambia Football Association. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Gambian Girls Make Heroic Return". Gambia: Gambia Football Association. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "African Women U-19 Championship 2002". Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Jean Williams (15 December 2007). A Beautiful Game: International Perspectives on Women's Football. Berg. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-84520-674-1. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Richard Giulianotti; David McArdle (2006). Sport, Civil Liberties and Human Rights. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7146-5344-0. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Chris Hallinan; Steven J. Jackson (31 August 2008). Social And Cultural Diversity In A Sporting World. Emerald Group Publishing. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-0-7623-1456-0. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Jean Williams (18 December 2003). A Game for Rough Girls?: A History of Women's Football in Britain. Routledge. pp. 173–175. ISBN 978-0-415-26338-2. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Gabriel Kuhn (24 February 2011). Soccer Vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics. PM Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-60486-053-5. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c FIFA (2006). "Women's Football Today" (PDF). Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "Goal! Football: Gambie" (PDF). FIFA. 21 April 2009. p. 1. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c France-Presse, Agense (2 November 2016). "Gambian national goalkeeper dies during Mediterranean crossing". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  22. ^ Jason Burke (2016-11-03). "Gambia goalkeeper who died in Mediterranean wanted to play in Europe". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  23. ^ a b c "Gambia goalkeeper dies trying to reach Europe". BBC News. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.