by Baboucarr Camara
Gamtel’s chances of prolonging their stay in the CAF Champions League were dashed on Saturday when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Olympique Club de Khouribga, going down to a humiliating 4-2 aggregate defeat after two legs.
The Moroccans had led 2-1 from the first leg but Gamtel Coach Tapha Manneh was so confident of reversing the deficit in the return leg that he told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that the Telecom giants would qualify to the next stage of the qualifiers in their first ever season in the competition. “I am disappointed, because we could have done better,” were his comments after the final whistle.
But just as the away side took the lead in Khouribga a fortnight earlier to shock the hosts who would later recover from a penalty miss to secure the win, it was again the visitors that drew first blood in this deciding encounter when Najib Koumya headed from a corner kick after 26 minutes to make the task ever harder for the Gambian champions.
Although Gamtel equalised with 18 minutes remaining when Modou Sarr scored from a set piece, any hopes of a Gamtel comeback were dashed in stoppage time when Ibrahim Bezghoudi sealed the win from a counter-attack as the home keeper Baka Ceesay surged forward to meet a corner kick.
With the win, Olympique Khouribga, who themselves are making only their second appearance in Africa’s flagship club competition, will now face 2007 champions Etiole du Sahel of Tunisia in the next round.