By Lamin Cham
The Gambia government through the National Coordinating Committee tasked to work on the country’s maiden participation in the Africa Cup of Nations, has called on Gambians to support in meeting the logistical needs of the national team and the Gambian football fans to take part in the event in Cameroon next month. The NCC is led by Sport Minister Bakary Badjie and comprises representatives from government, private sector, media and other relevant stakeholders. The Gambia qualified for the Africa Nations Cup for the first time ever and will be among 23 other teams to play for the continental title from January 9 to February 6, 2022
The NCC announced it needs about D117 million to meet the cost of plane hiring, overseas training camp, match bonuses, allowances and lodging and transportation of fans among other things. So far, President Barrow who started the donations, gave D1million, Africell D8million, Vista Bank D250,00 while a private tailoring entrepreneur gave D10.000.
The NCC said it has opened Road to Afcon accounts at different banks where Gambians can walk in and donate whereas subscribers to Africell mobile phone lines can simply dial 2888 to donate directly into the account. “We have also written and engage companies and institutions both in the government and private sectors to chip in as their corporate responsibility toward national development. On Thursday, the NCC is hosting a national telethon to be aired over all electronic media in The Gambia where Gambians can call and make pledges. “We are calling on the union of professionals of every trade and business to answer to the national call to ensure an effective first-time appearance in this important international sports event,” said Musa Sise spokesman of the NCC said. He further said the target is achievable, adding that all what is required is a massive show of patriotism by individual Gambians and businesses.
He said the NCC is holding one more camp in the gulf where at least one international friendly match is planned for the Scorpions before they gather in Banjul for the official handing over of the battle flag by President Barrow and a farewell gala dinner. ”The team is expected to leave Banjul by special flight to Cameroon on 7 January. There are plans for it to come back to pick fans to support the team in this very important continental showpiece. This is a big national achievement about which every Gambian should be proud. We must therefore do our best to contribute whatever we have as Gambians to support this project,” he said.