By Lamin Cham
A loose sentence in a long write up by the GFF responding to what it called malicious’ criticisms of its president Lamin Kaba Bajo, has itself attracted a sharp reaction and threats of a Pandora’s’ box from members of the executive that preceded Team Kaba at Football House.
The controversial part of the sentence in the GFF response published in their Facebook which incurred the wrath of the former executive reads; Kaba and his team were legitimately elected in a democratic process without fear or favour, ill-will and affection, after the previous leadership was disbanded by FIFA for age cheating.
Apparently the former GFF leadership referred to in the sentence has found that narration offensive and have fired back with a reaction published on social media by its Number 2 Buba Star Janneh.
Mr Janneh described the very mention of age cheating as false and misleading. While clarifying issues Janneh also made allegations, including among others, against people he said subverted the actual instruction of Fifa on the matter and went ahead to do what suited them. Read his positing verbatim:
Statements, comments whenever or wherever they step out of the line of truth must be promptly and emphatically corrected and brought back to the path of truthfulness. Why? The recent story on Facebook dated 16th May 2017, commenting on the former Executive of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF), is untrue, misleading, malicious and slanderous.
A statement in their reaction to an article written by GFF against Messers Ousman Kinteh and Buba Jallow which claims that the former leadership of GFF was banned by FIFA because of age cheating is false and deserves a fitting response.
To get the facts right, FIFA at the time when this unfortunate situation occurred (the dissolution of the Executive) decided that the then GFF Executive should convene an Extraordinary Congress of the Stakeholders to seek and obtain a fresh mandate.
Knowing that the then GFF Executive would have obtained that Mandate if the Extraordinary Congress was held as directed by FIFA, the Former Sport Minister in collaboration with people who had direct access to authorities in CAF and FIFA ensured that the Extraordinary Congress was not held. Instead, they instituted Alagie Sillah –led Normalisation Committee which eventually barred our President Mustapha Kebbeh and Seedy Kinteh from contesting elections.
Obviously, we now know that the former Minister was fighting the former Executive in order to ensure that his brother ascends to the top of GFF.
Our silence for the past three years should not be assumed by anyone as guilt. We (former Executive) are patriotic Gambians who for the greater good and prosperity of Gambian football prefer to become supportive rather than distractive and destructive individuals.
In addition to the fact that the former Government Officials led by the former minister of Youth and Sports were directly involved in ensuring that the current GFF Executive members were elected, we have a compelling evidence of numerous irregularities committed by the current GFF Executive, including but not limited to age cheating, an offense which they have accused us of.
We would have exposed them to the relevant authorities if we wanted to witch-hunt and the implications on our football would have been devastating. But as good and responsible citizens of our country, we decided not to soil the name of our Country and dash the hopes and aspirations of our young footballers.
It is also on record that the former GFF Executive spent 8 days in police detention as they (police) investigate the alleged age cheating. We are certain that very soon Gambians will be informed of the findings of an investigative panel set up by the previous Government on the age cheating accusation leveled against us.
In the meantime, we wish to reiterate that the former Executive of GFF was composed of men and women of honour who have served and continue to serve their nation in diverse ways. We have transformed the GFF during our short tenure and have introduced policies and procedures geared towards making GFF more transparent, accountable and relevant to the current realities.
We have used our expertise to lobby and have secured funds meant to develop football in the Gambia in line with our strategic blue print dictated by our strong desire to develop football across the entire nation.
We knew that our immediate stakeholders were fully abreast and have bought in to our vision and we appreciate their support and are also grateful for standing by us during trying times.
Finally, we wish to assure all that from now on we will not remain silent. We will expose the injustice and correct misleading statements regarding our tenure in office and in this new Gambia doing such is a national duty.