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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Gambian football at crossroads

Sports in The Gambia particularly football will always go backward as long as we keep taking sides, engage in debilitating infighting and trying to undermine the efforts of those in power. After all, the general public is concerned about the Gambia for Gold financial audit report which is yet to be submitted. What is preventing stakeholders in the sporting arena particularly the Ministry of Sports to heed to the call to audit the Gambia for Gold financial accounts for the purpose of transparency and  accountability as well to enlighten the general public about their financial activities during their tenure in office? 

Seedy Kinteh and co were suspended and a new GFF election was conducted, a new executive was unveiled, as well as new programs and policies formulated for better management and to secure funding from Fifa for the development of football, particularly grassroots football in The Gambia. But another setback was in the making after the Confederation of African Football detected age cheating in Gambian football which led to the suspension of the country from all football-related activities. This was blamed on administrative error. 

Surprisingly, numerous press conferences were called with invitations extended to media outlets in which various sides countered each other to the very last minute when it was too late to salvage the pride of our beloved country. It is important for us to remember what happened some years ago during the qualifying round of the African Nations Cup between Senegal and The Gambia. During the first game which was hosted by The Gambia, the Senegalese delegation including footballers and fans were accorded with a VIP treatment. Not a single Senegalese was harassed or physically abused. This was not the case on the return leg of the same fixture in which the Gambian delegation including fans and footballers were harassed, intimidated, and beaten up. After all the hardship encountered by The Gambia during that unfaithful day under the leadership of the current Caf president, The Gambia was charged for violent conduct and punished for a crime that was not of its own making. I think this should serve as a lesson for the Gambian people by coming together as one and fight to defend the image of the country at any cost.  Some of the so-called stakeholders decided to take advantage of the situation by undermining the efforts of the GFF executive through a letter addressed to Fifa claiming that the majority of stakeholders in Gambian football have lost confidence in those in power. This goes to reminded me of the previous president Seedy Kinteh after his suspension by the then so-called normalisation committee from all football-related matters in The Gambia. This was a man decorated by the world governing body Fifa for his contributions to football development. Coach Paul Putt also known as Gambia’s Jose Mourinho, had to leave because of the many problems in Gambian football . 

We should note that no man or woman on this earth is perfect and so we must learn to give chance to one another for the development of our sports. 

By Sana Marenah

New Jeshwang


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