For the first time, the Gambia Football Federation GFF has secured a sponsorship deal for its top flight tier, the male first division league.
The deal, coming just over week ahead of the commencement of the league, was unveiled at a joyous ceremony at African Princess Hotel Friday by GFF President Lamin Kaba Bajo who said the deal with Baluwo is a landmark achievement for Gambian football.
Mr Bajo thanked the CEO of Baluwo Josep Arroyo and his staff, and Fatou Touray of Kerr Fatou, for facilitating the deal and expressed hope that the relationship will be fruitful and durable.
He said the GFF has decided to allocate each of the 14 teams in the league D50,00 as direct support, while the rest of the money from the deal would be used a cash prizes and other logistics. The GFF league title has been increased to D1million while the second and third prize monies have also been increased.
“Perhaps this is an occasion to highlight that this sponsorship deal will go a long way to address the heavy financial burden on the head of the GFF in not just the domestic but international levels. It goes without saying that it is not easy to run the leagues. We have since our assumption of office tried and now abolished registration fees for clubs in addition to providing transport refunds for teams as they travel around the grounds throughout the season,” Mr Bajo said.
Bajo described the deal as historic because it is the first time that the GFF under him secured a real sponsorship deal. He lamented that sponsorship in sports in The Gambia is almost nonexistent. He again paid tribute to Baluwo through its West Africa director Lamin Jaiteh, marketing manager Sarjo Brito and facilitator Fatou Touray.
In his turn, Mr Jaiteh said the deal is expected to provide minimum visibility and awareness about Baluwo in The Gambia. He said Baluwo is now operating in many other countries but it is rooted in The Gambia, being the starting place of the platform hence the local tag ‘Baluwo, a Mandinka parlance for sustenance. Mr also Jaiteh expressed Baluwo’s commitment to the deal and further explained the company’s relations with Greater Tomorrow FC, a football team from Brikama which they sponsored from Nawettan to the league.
William Abraham, head of the GFF marketing Committee paid tribute to Baluwo and congratulated the GFF for the sponsorship. He used the occasion to appeal to Gambian businesses and other entities to come forward and sponsor football.” From here, we will mount and aggressive campaign to try to attract more Gambian business to sponsor football,” he said.
Mr Abraham said sponsorship is critical to football especially as the Gambia is very much on the path of professionalising the league.
The sponsorship deal is for a four-year life span with a possibility of negotiation to increase or expand its scope. The launching ceremony was attended by the GFF General Secretary Lamin Jassey , staff of the GFF and club representatives.
Baluwo is an e-commerce platform targeting West African diaspora community in Europe and America enabling them to purchase products or services for their families back home. Through Baluwo, users can buy food and construction materials as well as mobile phone and electricity top ups for their families in a very simple and intuitive way.
The league starts with the Super Cup on 7th January between Hawks and Wallidan in Banjul.