According to Mr Thomas, a national sports council founding executive secretary, the GFF executive is comprised mainly of volunteers who could not therefore give the required time to football development; nor can volunteers be blamed or held accountable for inadequate performance. “We have ourselves only to blame, which is why we must do something about this – now! We should include at least a fair number of persons who can give adequate time to their responsibilities,” he said. Below is an excerpt from his paper:
The two ministries (sports and education) need stronger collaboration for sports development to halt the problem of their divergent polices since 1977 when the two were de-linked. Currently the National Sport Council Policy refers to sports development in schools, however the ten-year Education Policy on the other hand, does not take school sports into account or provide any room for accommodating school sports. There is need for urgent policy review and harmonisation.
The new GFF executive must have as a top priority a meeting of the two Ministers and their advisers, so that the idea of sports in schools could be properly studied in terms of goals, implications and strategic plan; and then allow for its earliest possible implementation. There should be no waiting.
Also we should programme a stakeholders conference to formulate strategies for the promotion and development of Schools football. This should be done in the immediate term.
Management of a football association is no child’s play, as there are both various unitary and inter-playing factors involved. Those involved with management must therefore possess the relevant qualities of knowledge, experience, commitment, dedication, discipline, honesty and hard work. It behoves any football leadership therefore to ensure fielding a sound management team.
The two–tier management of executive and secretariat manifests some fundamental weaknesses. The executive is comprised mainly and overwhelmingly of volunteers who could not therefore give the required time to football development, nor can Volunteers be blamed or held accountable for inadequate performance. We have ourselves only to blame, which is why we must do something about this – now! We should include at least a fair number of persons who can give adequate time to their responsibilities.
Nearly all the time, the Executive has an overwhelming membership of elective members who do not necessarily have the requisite experience in either the game of football or its management. Why don’t we at least balance the membership by incorporating people with the necessary competencies in management as well as football. For example, an amendment of the constitution to field representatives from football coaches association, Referees association, International veterans association, etc. Co-opting a cohort of experienced sports personalities is another consideration. This way we can ensure there is meaningful football experience and or management capability within the GFF, on a permanent basis.
At the level of the secretariat there has equally been inadequacy both numerically as well as qualitatively. We need to have some staff increase to ensure comprehensive coverage of all the areas of responsibility; and we need to provide relevant training to key as well as support staff to ensure capacity building and qualitative delivery of services at all times. If we are serious about addressing the concerns of the public regarding transparency in GFF operations, we should have communication/ publicity officers. We should have marketing officers (if not even a marketing unit or department.
In other words we should be prepared to invest in football more significantly. As I said earlier running a football association is not child’s play. Look at the examples in other countries, Europe and other African Countries and their respective levels of investment. This brings me to the next concern and it relates to finances.
This is a universal phenomenon but a most vital one indeed. You cannot have D2 million only and then expect to compete in all the outings in the world at all the different age levels. Impossible! Therefore there is need to cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth.
After the Fifa subvention which still runs at about the same D1 million dollars every four years and the occasional government subvention and low gate takings etc; it still leaves us with a significant funding gap. Now how do we address this? Obviously we have to find alternative ways of raising additional revenue. I therefore put for serious consideration fourteen recommendations; we can even have more.
1 The GFA should go into investments for generating investment income and financial reserves.
2 GFA should organise fund –raising activities (e.g foreign and local hands) to attract strong nation-wide support and substantial revenue.
3 GFA should seek corporate sponsorship in return for wearing company advertisements.
4 GFA should guard against the wrong practice of duplication of tickets by producers or ticket-holders, and remove all loopholes that usually bring down ticket sales.
5 The issue of free admission tickets should be brought to a minimum and strictly monitored.
6 Government should increase annual allocations for sports to more substantial levels.
7 Government should amend the tax laws to allow for tax relief or concessions to companies on amount donated to sports.
8 The National Sports Council should appropriate and put aside a fixed amount annually to football out of the Sports Development Fund.
9 Area Councils and Municipalities should increase their contributions to their respective football committees.
10 More companies should be encouraged to adopt and extend sponsorship to the activities and programmes of the football Association.
11 The general public should be encouraged to make personal contributions to football by contributing towards a national sports levy, or by personal donations, bequests, or by other means.
12 The National lottery and Casinos should be strongly encouraged to make regular contributions to sports, particularly football.
13 Companies and Financial Institutions should be encouraged to make annual donations to football development, as part of their corporate social responsibility.
14 Parastatals should be encouraged to allocate a specific amount annually for football development.
But the other part (probably the more important part) is to exercise judicious use of our funds. Incidences of graft and fraud can never help football development; all it can develop is our pockets and our bad reputation. Let us show honesty; let us show integrity and character; let us show accountability; let us show transparency; let us show Gambians a clean record.
What type of league?
I don’t want to get much into this subject. But my belief is in the zonal type arrangement, and I am fully 100 percent behind Lamin Camara the former chairman of the Super Nawettan committee and his line of advocacy as presented in this forum. I happen to support and encourage my Tujereng/Tanji teams and I know how much it means to them. As Camara stated, these youngsters walk miles in large numbers to view football: their reason is because it is their home teams playing! Of course there could be violence or hooliganism but is that a reason for ruling it out? Of course not. There is crowd hooliganism in many big matches in Europe and even in the World Cup but have these championships been stopped? The challenge is merely to find ways to address it. Fifa, Caf, UEFA are doing well with match bans, fines, stadium bans. In The Gambia being a small, peaceful, united country, we can even add the approach of pre-season talks, conference and advice.]]>