‘Gov’t must reach Fifa with a plan to solve football’

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By Omar Bah

Bai Malleh Wadda, a former Gambian international footballer has added his voice to the current saga surrounding the Gambian football elective congress, which has been marred by controversy.
This week President Barrow told journalists that government will work with Fifa to solve the saga which ranged from disqualifications of candidates to allegations of fraud by officials.
In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Mr Wadda one of the most respected former Gambian international players said while he may not disagree with the Gambian leader that the government should follow due process as provided by Fifa in solving the GFF saga, he believes that government should have a plan nationally that they can take to Fifa and tell them this is how we want football to be run in our country.
“The truth is Fifa does not allow governments to just get up and impose their position but if you go to Fifa with your plans and proposals they will listen.

But to say Fifa does not allow government to interfere in football matters, I do not agree with that. That is not entirely accurate”, Mr Wadda said.
He said efforts must be done to bring the stakeholders together and discuss on the way forward and then approach Fifa.

“This is necessary because every honest Gambian will tell you that Gambian football is not making progress despite the resources that are invested into the game, ” Wadda said.
He added that with that plan, The Gambia can approach Fifa and Caf to fund it but right now he does not think there is anything like that.
The former Real de Banjul Coach and all round Gambian sportsman said one has to realise that government is using public funds on football because national associations in least developed countries cannot afford to develop or maintain their football and their national teams, meaning a lot of public funds are used in football activities.

“And the thing is that the government should be able to explain to the citizens that they are using these funds for a justifiable reason and in that vein government should make sure that things are progressing. So it is not just sitting back saying whatever Fifa says or does is final. No, ” Mr Wadda said.
He added that Fifa may have its international policies but Gambia needs to have our national policy, adding that every country has their sports policy and the ministries of youth and sport should together with the stakeholders develop the game.
Mr Wadda concluded by saying running our football should be more than candidates campaigning, saying we have to do this and that.