Over a hundred young boys are currently enrolled at the Medina United Football Academy in Lamin, learning football skills alongside their daily school work. They come in different categories, the Under 9, 15, 17, 19 and 23, while the adult category, the senior team, is already a household name in the Lamin Nawettan where they won several titles and are heading to the Third Division league in the West Coast region.
A grand plan is underway to start a women’s football programme at the academy.
Founded in 2018 by Michael Nicol, the Academy has a technical staff of six coaches and a technical director and would soon have its own modern field. “Those lucky to have been admitted into the academy are being trained free of charge and all are supplied with modern kits and are facilitated with a transport which ferries them to their routine training and field trips during school holidays. The children also get summer classes under the auspices of the academy,”, CEO Tijan Masanneh Ceesay, TMC, told The Standard. He said the academy has a mission that is not only limited to just imparting football skills into the kids but also, generally preparing them for the future with the requisite opportunities in the academic and sporting endeavors. ”Only recently, reputable foreign football scouts were invited who assessed and scouted two players who are going to the United States on full scholarship under the auspices of the academy,” CEO Ceesay said.
The Academy, he said, puts a lot of premium on excellence both in sports and academic work, adding that the academy staff is constantly in touch with the parents and teachers of the kids, monitoring their academic work. “One of our recent activities was an internal competition among the various teams in the academy with Latdior FC lifting the title. This is awesome and emotional for me personally. Gabriel Latdior Ndow was a dedicated Gambian footballer and entrepreneur. We used to call him Drunken Master whose consummating skills in football was a dream for any boy at the time. He moved to the USA and excelled in various innovative businesses. His legacy should be preserved and so we fittingly named the academy’s complex after him,” TMC said. “We called it the GABRIEL LATJOR NDOW CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE. I could not be prouder of The Drunken Master,” Tijan mourned a legend.
The complex, situated right on the Highway is a two-storey building providing adequate space for various activities of the academy.