The Scorpions will be taking part in the African competition for the first time in history and they have been drawn in Group F alongside Mali, Mauritania, and Tunisia.
Ahead of their first match in the 33rd edition of the competition against Mauritania on January 12 at Limbe Omnisport Stadium, the 29-year-old Colley, who features for Sampdoria in Serie A, believes they have what it takes to surprise many.
“Each time, there is a surprise team - this time we hope it is The Gambia,” Colley said as quoted by BBC Sport Africa. "I am excited not only for being the captain, but for the fact, we are the first generation to achieve qualification.
“For us, it's not a small thing and we made history for The Gambia. I am really happy and proud to get this chance and be part of the team. I hope there will be more and more tournaments to come and to still be part of it.
“I am a role model for young players and I always act to lead them forward, if possible, and help Gambian football develop.”
The Gambia will be under the guidance of Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, who has also coached Trinidad & Tobago, Malta, and Bangladesh national teams, and Colley feels he is the right man to take the team to Cameroon.
“He’s a great motivator; he really believes in us and he says this is the best team The Gambia has ever had,” Colley continued. “Even before we qualified, he proved statistical evidence for that. Stats never lie - we score more and we concede less than we used to.
“It was the time to qualify and we proved we could do it. He has a lot of experience and gave us a sense of self-confidence, and now here we are. We are very happy with him, it's a perfect match.”
Asked to describe their group at Afcon, Colley said: “To be in such a difficult group really motivates us. The first match against Mauritania will probably determine the outcome of our tournament; we are going to go all-in and try and get the three points.
“Having said that, there is no easy game at Afcon. Each time there is a surprise team - this time we hope it is The Gambia.
“People have started looking at The Gambia because we qualified for the first time and we have some very good players around Europe, like in Italy and Belgium.
“In the last few years, players from The Gambia have left the country and gone abroad to become professionals. This is also because the national team has done so well.
“Going to Afcon is a big opportunity for us and for the youngsters at home. We showed it is possible to compete at the highest level and this is going to motivate them to follow in our footsteps and do even better. The first step is always the most important one.”
After facing the Lions of Chinguetti in the opener, Gambia will come up against The Eagles on January 16 before winding up their group phase matches with a clash against the Carthage Eagles on January 20.
Afcon - Each time there is always a surprise team “it is Gambia this time”
👤ISRAEL 📅07-01-2022 13:09
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