Ngorongoro Heroes were forced to mount a comeback that ensured they picked at least a point from the Friday contest
Tanzania U20 head coach Jamhuri Kihwelo has stated his side failed to beat the Gambia in the Africa Cup of Nations due to wasted chances.
The Group C rivals drew 1-1 on Friday and it is Tanzania who had to fight hard and earn the points after going down in the first half.
Momodou Bojang’s volley gave the Young Scorpions the lead in the 38th minute although the West Africans should have scored more before as they wasted open chances by the time they got the opener.
With two minutes left of regular time, Ngorongoro Heroes earned an equaliser when midfielder Novatus Dismas launched a clinical and ferocious 25-yard free-kick. Gambia’s goalkeeper Lamin Saidy had little chance of stopping the strike that ended up forcing the clubs to share points in Nouadhibou.
“I am grateful the game ended without us losing although we will blame ourselves for not winning,” Kihwelo is quoted by the Tanzania Football Federation Facebook page as saying.
“We lost like five chances in a game that we were destined to win. Three chances were stopped by the Gambia goalkeeper and two were saved by their defenders in the first half. In the second half, we also lost a number of chances but at the end of the day, my boys fought hard and did not allow themselves to come out as losers.”
In an interview carried by Caf Online, Kihwelo had described their group opponents as one of the best teams in Mauritania.
“The Gambian team is one of the best in the tournament and I congratulate them, but I think they were lucky,” he said. “Now we will focus on the last game against Morocco.”
On his part, Gambia’s coach Mattar M’boge claimed spectators must have enjoyed the encounter that pitted them against the East Africans.
“It was a very good game of football,” M’boge said. “Both teams tried to win the game because we both ended up with defeats in the first games so I am sure anybody who was watching the game enjoyed it.
“Both teams tried to push and get the goals so I will congratulate Tanzania and also congratulate my players who put up a very good performance again.
“Towards the end when one goal wasn’t enough, we had a very good chance to make it 2-0 but the keeper came up with the save and I think in terms of the overall game, we can be happy but we’re not happy with getting only a point.”
Gambia’s Kajally Drammeh, who was named the man of the match, said he was disappointed by the draw.
“I’m happy to be named the match of the match but really disappointed with the result,” the starlet said. “We created enough chances to win the match and ended up giving away the lead. We will now focus on the Ghana match and try to win to revive our chances of making the knockout stages.”