By Tabora Bojang
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Badjie over the weekend laid the foundation stone for the construction of mini stadia in Fula Bantang, Central River Region and Kafuta Kombo East in the West Coast Region.
The Kafuta project worth D6.8 million is contracted to Bathurst Builders while the Fula Bantang project worth D7.9 million has been contracted to Gam-Engineering.
When completed, the mini stadia will be accorded features including standard football pitches, borehole, changing rooms, perimeter fence, admin offices, toilets, guard and shower rooms and a pavilion to be constructed in the second phase of the projects.
Speaking at the events, sports minister Bakary Badjie said these projects and many of its kind are in line with government policy of decentralising sports and ensuring sports development at the local level through the development of infrastructure.
“We believe with such initiatives, young people’s employability will increase, talents will be identified and developed, and sports will no longer just be for leisure but business that has the potential to change lives of athletes, their families and socioeconomic development of local communities,” Badjie said.
“Let me assure you all that the President Barrow and entire government remain committed to issues of youths and will continue to make sports development a national priority by creating the enabling policy environment and development ventures that will advance this great country of ours, ” he added.
The events were witnessed by Governors Lamin Sanneh of WCR and Sheriff Abba Sanyang of CRR, deputy youth adviser to the president Saihou Mballow, general secretary of the Gambia Football Federation Lamin Jassey, Executive Director of the National Sports Council Marcel Mendy among other dignitaries.
Governor Sanneh said the project is in line with the National Development Plan and amply demonstrates the government’s commitment to promote sports infrastructure to enable youth realise their full potential.
He described Kafuta as one of the most outstanding football communities in Kombo East adding that the project when completed will boost sports development in the entire region.
Governor Sanyang, who sounded reconciliatory amid the widening controversy surrounding the decision to construct the facility in Fula Bantang instead of Brikama-Ba, called on the people of CRR to “take ownership of the project and ignore social media talks” saying its benefits are for the entire region.
Contrcators Tijan Badjie of Bathurst Builders and Ebrima Cham of Gam- Engineering, respectively, all assured the authorities of their readiness to deliver the facilities within the time frame of the contract and without compromising quality and safety measures.
The villagers pleaded to the ministry to ensure that youths from the project sites and their surrounding villagers are recruited to provide labour and ownership of the project thereby creating income for the youths.