Organised in partnership with Fifa, the event will serve as a symbol of Gambia Football Federation’s “unalloyed commitment to breaking barriers and taboos” associated with female football.
Unveiling the programme at a press briefing yesterday, GFF technical director Ebrima Manneh said the fact that the Girls Festival concept which is just two years old with Fifa is now being replicated in The Gambia, shows the GFF’s drive to make female football an integral part of football culture here.
“There are two components to the event,” he said, adding that it will begin with a technical course featuring 26 coaches drawn from formal female clubs regions and the national elite female players as participants. “They will be trained by a reputed Fifa instructor Jacqueline Shipanga who is due here Saturday to conduct this course from December 15 to 18.” He further disclosed that the festival itself will take place on December 19 featuring 240 young girls between the ages of 6 to 12. “These girls are drawn from Regions 1 and 2 primary schools, the SoS Children’s Village while the rest will be provided by the Women Football Association,” Manneh said.
According to the GFF technical director, Fifa will provide funding and equipment for the programme which will be distributed with the expected outcome that children from the festival will imbue their friends and classmates with the enthusiasm for football and thereby increase participation in women’s football.
Choro Mbenga the female football coordinator at the GFF spoke of the importance of the programme especially the training which she said was pivotal to the rare success The Gambia attained in female football in the U-17 team’s qualification to the World Series.
Ebrima Alhagie Nyass, the GFF’s coordinator for youths and grass roots football said the festival is a demonstration of the commitment of the GFF led by Lamin Bajo who had himself shown great interest in developing female football.
The press briefing also conveyed the need for wide publicity for the event in line with Fifa’s desire to get the message on female football development to the general population.
The December 19 festival will open with a march past led by the scouts band and comprising all participants and their facilitators.]]>