The stage was set by NSC executive director Abdul Aziz Titao Mendy: “We have decided to lift the ban on the GFF executive members in the interest of the nation and the footballers who are the most affected in this saga.” He went: “Together we shall work to support the appeal of The Gambia over the Caf suspensions so as to ensure that The Gambias’ pride lost in this saga is regained.”

As if that is not enough of a drama, GFF president Mustapha Kebbeh took over: “I wish to thank President Jammeh and the government for his support and encouragement in the development of Gambian football. We and the NSC will work together to push the appeal on the Caf suspensions. We have already placed an appeal within the stipulated right time-frame and now we shall follow it together as a nation. The Gambia is bigger than any party in this problem,” he said. And that was it. They gave no further details even though the two have been locked up in intense negotiations over the suspensions and the threatened Fifa sanctions for much of last week.

The laconic delivery of the message as opposed to the usual flowery speeches both sides are known for, has left journalists and the public bemused and asking, could this be true? “They may have given us the outcome of the talks but certainly not how they reached there,”one speculated.


And with both officials refusing to elaborate or take questions from the sidelines, analysts said there are more to the issue than the officials have publicly admitted. 

“I welcome an amicable solution to the impasse but I am not too sure that the look on the faces of both camps is assuring enough,” one journalist told The Standard after the press conference.

Meanwhile, the role of the interim body, unable to take office since it was set up by the sports minster, came into focus. The so-called Rectification Committee is now tasked to work with the GFF towards organising an extraordinary congress, unofficially reported to take place on July 19. The congress was proposed by Fifa for the GFF leaders to seek a fresh vote of confidence in the stakeholders in the wake of the country’s suspension by Caf.


By Lamin Cham