Gambia withdraws from 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers

The Gambia has withdrawn from the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations ahead of a double-legged qualifying match with Libya next month.

Gambia was due to play Libya in the first leg of the first round qualifiers on the weekend of 12-16 November 2018 before hosting the return leg on the weekend of 17-20 November but lack of funds means the team has to be pulled out.

“The Gambia Football Federation informs the general public that it has pulled out of the U-23/Olympic Qualifiers with immediate effect,” a statement from the country’s football governing body said.

It added that: “This decision is necessitated by the financial constraints that the GFF faces to cater for the team while also shouldering the financial needs of the senior national team that is currently in action in the AFCON qualifiers as well as trying to fulfill the Federation’s other financial obligations.”

The Federation claims it was responsible for all financial responsibilities of the country’s national teams for the past four years with limited or no support from the Government.

Gambia’s withdrawal means Libya secure an automatic progress to the second round of the qualifiers where they face one-time Olympic champions Nigeria.

Qualification to the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Egypt would have ensured that the Gambia secure a place at the 2020 Summer Olympics men’s football tournament in Tokyo, Japan.