The Executive Director of the National Sports Council Marcel Mendy has informed the national team players and the media that The Gambia government will soon come up with a package of appreciation for the Scorpions.
Mendy made these remarks while serving as master of ceremonies at a state dinner thrown in honour of the team at Tamala hotel.
The dinner was presided over by the First Lady Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow who extended President Barrow’s profound appreciation of the efforts of the national team in qualifying the country to her first major football event, the AFCON. ”The president would have loved to be here himself to dine with you but let me tell you that I am equally a football fan and I have watched most of your matches including even the most recent one in Kinshasa,” the First Lady told the team.
Earlier, the minister of Youth and Sports Bakary Badjie congratulated the boys and expressed delight that what has been the biggest desire of the Gambian people to qualify for AFCON has now been achieved. ”Yes it may have been achieved during our time but we found a solid foundation laid over many years by people who gave all their best. At cabinet level, we often discuss sports and football and there is a lot of enthusiasm and interest among us as cabinet, to prioritise sports,” Mr Badjie said.
James Gomez, the Minister of Fisheries and a veteran football administrator himself, said the commitment of the Gambia Government to sports is amply demonstrated by the introduction of the Sports levy which gives percentage from call termination fees to sports. Gomez, who saw it all in Gambian football, said the achievement of AFCON is not a small feat knowing what it takes to get to such stages.
Officials of the Gambia Football Federation led by President Lamin Kaba Bajo thanked government for the support and expressed the GFF’s ambition to consolidate the gains so far registered by improving on all aspects.
He said the recent extension of the contract of the coach Tom Saintfiet is part of the GFF’s strategy to work for even greater success. Both Coach Saintfiet and his captain Pa Modou Jagne pledged to work even harder towards the journey to Cameroun 2022.
The audience heard veteran journalist Pap Saine tell a scintillating story of how The Gambia’s football journey started , its highs and lows and the legends, dead or alive, who worked for the game.