By Victor Kanayo
The 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between Congo and Gambia scheduled in Marrakech will happen later on Sunday, according to organisers.
Despite the magnitude earthquake that hit the North African nation Friday night with over 1000 people reportedly dead.
Earlier Saturday’s match between Morocco and Liberia in Agadir, some 260km away from the quake epicentre, was postponed.
The Congo and Gambia squads spent the night sleeping beside their respective hotel pools after the magnitude 7.2 quake that struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains and damaged buildings in nearby Marrakech. It was the country’s deadliest tremor in more than six decades.
Playing Amidst Trauma
The coaches of both teams said their players had been traumatised by the event but had been told they must go ahead with their match.
Sunday’s Group G decider between Gambia and Congo is being played in Marrakech because Gambia do not have a suitable stadium for hosting international matches.
Morocco’s showdown with Liberia would have been their last Group K match, where the outcome is of academic interest only.
Gambians’ Quake Experience
Meanwhile, the Gambian side have narrated their experience.
A statement by the country’s National team said, “A tremor was felt at our team hotel this Friday evening following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit several parts of Moroccan cities and surrounding countries within the Maghreb.
“The Gambia national team, the Scorpions, are lodged in the heart of Marrakech, one of the cities affected by the quake as we prepare for our final African Cup of Nations qualifiers here against Congo on Sunday.
“The entire Gambian delegation, including playing and non playing staff, are all safe and sound with not even the slightest of injuries recorded on any member.
“We’re now outside of the hotel rooms as we await further advise and directives from the Moroccan authorities.”