The executive director at the National Sports Council (NSC) Marcel Mendy has sent a strong message to Gambian sports administrators to up their game and execute their functions with diligence and honesty. “Some of the factors responsible for the dismal performances of most national sports teams in The Gambia are largely caused by the conduct of administrators”, Mr Mendy said while addressing a controversial and much-delayed Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) annual general meeting Saturday. He argued that though some may disagree but there have been instances that elected executives get rid of some key members of staff of their associations or federations just because they doubt their loyalty and not because those members of staff cannot deliver the goods.
Mr Mendy went on to list some of the misconducts often committed by sports administrators. He said these include denying deserving athletes and coaches sports scholarships just because those athletes and coaches refused to be manipulated; occasional interference in the selection of national athletes and teams; unfair treatment or penalisation staff, coaches and or athletes and in some instances manipulating constitutions and misleading stakeholders just to win votes to stay in power.
According to Mr Mendy, the aforementioned menaces have largely contributed to the predicaments of Gambian sport.
He informed the gathering that the Gambia will do well in sports as a country when the fire fighting and power struggle in most sports associations are stopped and efforts concentrated instead on the development of sport.
“As a matter of fact, the NSC has observed with grave concern that in some instances, some bodies and or groups of people gang up against others irrespective of how well the latter does simply because they believe in a different approach to development and or because they belong to the so-called different camps. The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the NSC will not allow a body to be victimized under such circumstances. Yes, stakeholders have the right to vote their leaders in and out of office, however, it must only happen for the right reasons and not simply because the said stakeholders are instigated by outsiders to go against a legitimately elected body,” Mr Mendy said.
He also noted that equally a sports body that has become unpopular among her stakeholders should honorably accept the will of the people and step aside for the good of the sport and avoid misleading the general public or its stakeholders about the state of affairs.
To illustrate his points, the NSC director said in recent times the Council has observed that some sport bodies operate or want to operate according to their whims and caprices, not based on laid down regulations.
He said such acts are unacceptable and as such, the NSC will not allow such a thing to happen. “The NSC as the body ordained to control, supervise, monitor and regulate all sports and sports bodies in the country strongly encourage all of you and your various associations to cultivate and maintain such high levels of good governance in your operations,” he advised.
Mendy said one important feature of sports is that it appeals to all peoples, young and old, men and women and has a universal language that can be a powerful tool to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across cultures, religions and tribes, something much needed in today’s Gambia. “It’s values of teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and rules of the game are understood all over the world regardless of what language one speaks.
With sport everybody is expected to be one and the same and stereotypes are shattered because sport recognizes the value of all and should make us care for one another and as such it is incumbent on us therefore, to work towards bringing to an end the notion that sport is synonymous with trouble,” he added.
Mendy said the Gambia government will continue to do more for deprived areas in the provision of sports facilities, infrastructure, opportunities and programmes for the youth and adults of less endowed communities.
Government and its partners, he went on, spent colossal sums of money towards sport infrastructure development but sadly, the achievements and successes do not commensurate the investments.
“It is imperative for all to understand and accept the fact that they are only elected to serve for a term or terms and that it is expected of them to relinquish power peacefully at the end of their term(s) instead of clinging onto power or in some cases, misleading international sport bodies in believing in their mischievous and erroneous stories. It is worthy to note that such individuals or groups will never succeed in their egoistic plots to delay the progress of our sport because the truth shall always prevail.
Furthermore, it should be clear to all and sundry that an international sport body cannot and will not determine what happens in a sovereign state. At least not The Gambia. I therefore, take this opportunity to advise all of those who are involved in such dishonest practices to desist from such selfish behaviors before it gets late for them,” Mendy warned the sports fraternity.
He disclosed that the NSC observed with broken hearts efforts and the quality time invested in amassing and canvassing for votes, manipulating and deliberately misleading local and international stakeholders far outweigh efforts invested in ensuring that we achieve results in our sport. “Worse still, it has become even clearer that it is mostly the richer associations that are beset by power struggles. This gives a very bad impression of our sport administrators. I therefore, wish to implore on all to take a moment to do a genuine analysis of ourselves and the reason(s) for which we have decided to be in sport,” he concluded.