Addressing the media for the first time since the incident happened, Kebbeh, whose remorseful speech fell short of an outright apology, said GFF believes that as a professional investigative body, the police are best suited to probe the matter.
He said as a body of people whose desire for the growth of Gambian football is “limitless”, the incident came as “a very sad” episode which brought “great distress and sleepless nights” to him as a person and the GFF as a whole.
The GFF president refused to be drawn into apportioning blame to any particular individual but went on to stress that his institution has “a great resolve” to learn lessons from this incident.
“This is the most bitter lesson in my life and I would urge the Gambian people to understand that this is not the wish of anyone in the GFF to see the country in this light,” he said. But he said as leaders, their approach is to own up to the incident and work to get football developed in the country.
Pushed to shed light on how his entire body could miss the all-important circular on the age criteria, Kebbeh maintained that the GFF only knew about the circular when Caf mentioned it in the wake of the Liberia appeal even though the circular was received by a member of his staff at the Football House. But he said he did not deem it good to publicly name the staff member who received it.
“Like I said, we will take corrective measures in all these affairs and the general structures. We have been advocating and cultivating the attitude of correct procedures and wish to ever devote ourselves to the best standards in administration,” he said
Kebbeh explained that in every transition where one inherits an institution, there are bound to be problems and he wished to request for the support of the Gambian people towards their set ambition to develop football in the country. “That is the ambition of our dear leader [President Jammeh] and we are commited to that,” he said.
Asked to comment on the inconsistencies in the GFF’s statement especially with regard to the handing-over dates, Kebbeh said “a handing-over is a process and there are a lots of complexities in this whole thing than is publicly known”.
Digressing from the controversial Under-20 issue, the GFF president announced that Fifa has just approved a total of US$1.2 million for The Gambia in terms of projects covering grassroots and female football among other areas. He said this is “a very rare gesture” from Fifa and “it’s a great step” in attaining the objective of football development in The Gambia.
By Lamin Cham]]>