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GFF, MOBSE CLASH OVER YOUTH FOOTBALL PROGRAMME

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The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and the Gambia Football Federation are at logger heads over the scouting of U- 13 and U-15 players, most of them from the school system.

The GFF is implementing a Fifa youth football scouting programme with view to establishing a national youth team but the ministry of education is apparently not happy that it has not been consulted and has ordered that no school take part in the exercise.

A correspondence from MoBSE to all regions said it has asked all head masters not to work with the GFF on the programme until it is authorized by the Permanent Secretary

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In response, the GFF said: “For a start, the said programme is a Fifa initiative called Talent Development Scheme (TDS), officially launched in The Gambia in August 2023, when the first phase of the initiative was conducted.

The ongoing event is the second phase of the program together with the monitoring done by our Regional Coaches in each of the administrative regions in the country.

The objective and purpose of the program is to create permanent regional and national U-13 and U-15 teams, which will be representing The Gambia in future regional, national and international competitions. It is evident that the targeted ages fall within the category of school going children. However that being said, the GFF isn’t directly working with schools as stated in your letter, but rather youths that fall within the aforesaid age group whether they are students or not. It’s equally important for the records to state that the activities are neither being run in schools nor during school contact hours. Thus it has minimal, effect on the lessons of the school children, if any at all.

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It is also disappointing and surprising that even though he signed on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Alasan Sey, the author of the letter from the ministry  is the Secretary General of The Gambia Schools Football Association, which is a bonafide member of the GFF and  Sey being the coordinator of our school-going football programs, ought to know better and advise the Permanent Secretary appropriately, rather than misleading him. Mr. Sey could have easily contacted the relevant GFF authorities with whom he has very close collaborative working relationship, for clarification or more information on the program to clear his mind or that of any of his colleagues.

Further to the foregoing, we wish to reassure the Ministry that it is a critical stakeholder of the GFF schools and related football development programs, and we are desirous to further strengthen and expand this special relationship in line with the Memorandum of Understanding between our two institutions and would to never “go behind your back to deal directly with schools”.

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