The Gambia Deaf Sports Association has expressed its disappointment with what it called heightened neglect and discrimination mainly from the authorities.
Speaking as the head of a delegation that visited The Standard, Momodou Lamin Ceesay the President of the association and vice president of the Confederation of African deaf sports association, said they are demanding respect and equal treatment from the government and the bodies responsible for sports in the country.
Commenting further, Ceesay said they are first disappointed that this year they could not travel to represent The Gambia in the Ecowas football tournament for deaf footballers from the region because they have not been able to get funding from the MoYS, NSC or the GFF. “We made several trips to MoYS during and after the time of former Minister Henry Gomez seeking help to attend this event happening in Togo early August. We also wrote to the NSC who replied they have no funding. The new minister of sports too said he is new in office and has not got our file, meaning he can do very little,” Mr Ceesay explained.
The deaf sports association boss further revealed that his players attended the last tournament in Mali on their own expenses and came out with medals and testimonies for best referee and other individual player medals, which were presented to MoYs.
“A number of our players are playing professional football in Azerbaijan. I am vice president of the Confederation of African deaf sports but despite all these achievements our federation is not respected or assisted in any shape or form,” Ceesay lamented.
He concluded by asking MoYS to at least refund them their travelling costs to the Mali tournament as promised by former Minister Henry Gomez. .
Adama Jammeh responsible for women’s affairs in the association lamented that with all the funds coming to support organisations and projects in the country, no one is considering the deaf sports association despite all their good ventures and programmes. “This is discrimination,” Miss Jammeh said.
The deaf sports association is still struggling to meet the August 3 deadline to participate in the tourney in Lome as well as attend an important meeting of the African deaf sports body in South Africa. The association has made a special appeal to President Barrow and philanthropic groups to support them. They can be contacted on7728092 or 8805599.