News that some people have been arrested for trying to fix a local football league match is very troubling. Match-fixing is an international crime and no nation should be associated with it.
Given that a few Gambian referees have on a few occasions been accused of alleged bribe taking at the international level, the least The Gambia need is any suggestion or confirmation that this happens regularly in our domestic game. And if official Gambia Football Federation sources quoting a match official are anything to go by, this current case under police investigation may not be an isolated incident.
The publicity generated by this incident will no doubt go viral across the globe meaning the only course open to the Gambian football authorities is to thoroughly investigate and deal with any of its officials found wanting. Yes we appreciate the great concern expressed by the GFF over the matter but they must go beyond rhetoric and draw a serious line as the behavior of its match officials, team managers and even players.
The case of the current alleged fixers and their alleged revelations of past match fixings in our game provides a good motive for the GFF to work with the police to clean the image of our game.
Also, the proliferation of sport betting companies in the country may have spawned the formation of gambling syndicates which may target our poorly paid footballers and match officials. Therefore the sport betting industry must be properly monitored and policed to avoid not just underage customers but hardcore gamblers and their powerful handlers from taking advantage of our poor football league to discredit our game.
We can neither afford to be complacent nor bear anymore football heartbreaks. The pain of not qualifying for CAN2019 is horrific enough.