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The Gambia: Fans welcome heroic football team after AFCON success

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Players and officials from The Gambia's national football squad have been received to huge cheers and welcome in Banjul.

A crowd of fans had waited up until Tuesday night at the Banjul airport to receive the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) debutants.

It was one of jubilation despite the team crashing out at the quarter final stage of the competition in Cameroon.

"Going this far, which no one expected, it's something, you know... it's going to be history forever, it's going to be history forever, we cannot say much but.. In the history of Gambian football, nobody is going to forget us." Pa Modou Jagne, captain of the Gambian football team said at the airport.

The Gambia is the lowest-ranked team ever to participate in AFCON but they became much more than mere participants – They defeated Mauritania 1-0 in their opening game, drew 1-1 with Mali and sneaked a late 1-0 win against Tunisia in the final game of Group F to finish second.

Bologna's Musa Barrow then sent them through to the quarterfinal with a beautiful goal against Guinea in the last-16. 

"We appreciate the love, we appreciate the love and everything, because some people could be sleeping and they came up here, to support. And I am very happy, I am grateful, just to thank them. I'm hoping we can give them more satisfaction in this, in football." Musa Barrow, striker of the Gambian football team

A new squad led by Belgian coach Saintfiet has seen the team boast of players from the diaspora. His squad in Cameroon this year featured players from as many as 17 leagues, including South Korea, Belarus and Sweden.

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