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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Gambia blame fans for defeat
Exclusive by James Copnall
BBC Sport in Dakar

Seyfo Soley
Soley was very concerned about what was happening in the stadium
Gambia star Seyfo Soley says his team mates struggled to concentrate on their match against Senegal because of the incidents involving Gambian supporters.

Dozens of Gambian fans were injured in clashes with soldiers and Senegalese supporters during Saturday's Nations Cup qualifier in Dakar.

Midfielder Soley said he and his team mates couldn't believe what they were witnessing.

"We don't expect things like that," Soley told the BBC.

"Many of our players could not play today, because of why? Because many Gambians are injured.

"The supporters were fighting, the soldiers were beating our guys. That is not normal."

Soley and his team-mates were kept informed of the problems their fans faced throughout the match.

Nevertheless, Gambia captain Ebou Sillah admitted there were other reasons for the defeat that will almost certainly deprive the Scorpions of a first ever Nations Cup finals appearance.

"It was the early goal that really caused us problems," Sillah told the BBC, talking about Lamine Diatta's 6th minute header.

"The trainer told us not to concede a goal in the first fifteen minutes, and we conceded in the first five minutes. That was the big problem."

The Scorpions can also count themselves unlucky to have been deprived of key players Jatto Ceesay and Edrissa Sonko, but Sillah was making no excuses.

"We did everything we could, but we made big mistakes, and in football if you make big mistakes you are going to be punished."

Violence mars Senegal win
08 Jun 03  |  African

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