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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Letters: GFF must approach FIFA court of arbitration for sports, there is no trust neither hope in CAF

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Dear Editor,

How do you except a right judgement and fair play from an organisatin that is hugely marred with lack of transparency and biasness against powerless football nations?
There is so much preferential treatment between former French and British colonies in the football arena.

It is a known fact that majority of countries under Caf are French colonies mostly of power weights in football nations in Africa, this has not just remained on paper but goes a long way in influencing and determining many decisions taken by Caf.
For the Gambia our cases has never been treated with respect at the confederation of African football’s level.
The Gambia Football Federation must wake up and do everything within its outmost to ensure that due process of fair play is followed in its appeal to CAF over the eligibility of Togo’s defender Adewale Olufade who played for Togo in a 1-1 AFCON qualifier match in Banjul.

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We have a case and we can succeed but only with caution and smartness as others do.
The GFF protested that the player is a Nigerian and does not meet criteria to play for the Hawks. This might well be accurate because in the match list provided by Togo for the Banjul clash, the player is listed as Adewale Olufade but in the CAF system, he is registered as James Adewale Olufade.
In rejecting our appeal, CAF stated that the player is not found wanting over his eligibility but (CAF) clearly admitted that there was an administrative error on their management systems which caused the discrepancy of names.
The GFF have a case and i believe their case must be considered by CAF and even at the FIFA level. Nevertheless, has always been pathetic for CAF critically analysing its transparency over football decisions that matter most within the continent especially between nations.

It goes to display how waywardly we are as a continent in terms of transparency. We are so much attached to colonial, linguistic and regional differences.
It is so sad and trivial that credibility of this noble organisation has always been under constant questioning.

The recent resignation of Liberia’s Musa Bility who resigned from his position as a member of the caf executive committee citing serious irregularities within the Caf leadership.
According to Bility, his resignation might serve as a wake-up call for “us to stand firm and ensure that Caf is managed properly in accordance with the statutes in order to bring real change to African football.”
As a football fan, i have lost total confidence in CAF as a transparent and fair play organisation considering their previous stance on Gambian issues because if this was us bet we will face the full consequence.

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I could vividly remember when we almost qualified for the AFCON championship in 2008 when all but nothing dashed our hopes except Caf so-called qualification criteria.
This time too in rejecting our petition CAF has stated that the player is not found wanting due to his, eligibility but they clearly admitted that there was an administrative error on their management systems, which caused the discrepancy of names.
This is where the GFF must strongly make its stance and if possible take this matter to the court of arbitration for sports under FIFA because with CAF i think it will be the same old story when considering our appeal.

The fact that there was an admin error alone speaks for itself. Who is responsible for this error? I am not a legal minded person but in my belief the mere fact that there exists an administrative error, is not in any way the Gambia’s problem.
From who so ever the mistake comes from our appeal should not be totally rejected. We have a point and a case but all resides in our quest to push for justice at least for once in our course.

I have observed with dismay that CAF is only working for the interest of bigger football nations in Africa mostly the former French colonies that are always given heavy weights of decisions over minors notably from the former British colonies.
These bogus considerations and preferential treatments must end if we want progress in African football; all continents have moved on while we still stock along the way.

Tabora Bojang
Mariama Kunda

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