By Lamin Cham
A planned camping and preparatory matches for The Gambia national team the Scorpions, slated for September 7 in The Comoro Islands, has been canceled for lack of funding. The event would have availed the team a chance to play two friendly matches, against the Comoros and Seychelles Island as it prepares for her maiden appearance in the Africa Nations Cup in Cameroon in January. It is one of several preparation events planned for the Scorpions ahead of the tournament.
However, yesterday a joint press statement from the Gambia Football Federation and the Ministry of Sports said the event will not go ahead because the Ministry could not access the required funds, some D13M, and the GFF is not in position to pre-finance the programme.
The statement assured the public that both the ministry and the GFF are committed to ensuring better preparations for the team ahead of the Afcon but many people in sports are not assured.
“This is a very lame excuse and one that is unacceptable. Why is the Ministry not able to access funds from the sports levy or if that is not ready any other fund from the Ministry of Finance? Did the ministry of sport inform Finance about this at the right time? And also, how can a whole Federation like the GFF not able to raise just D13million to pre-finance this camping? Is it also the case that the recent boycotting of the D11M presidential presentation by the players has soured relations between Government and the GFF? I think both MoYS and GFF should come up with a better explanation,” said Ousman Bojang a die -hard Scorpions fan. He also asked why didn’t MoYS use the D11M that the Minister said is still there for the players whenever they changed their mind. “Or has it now been used for something as the Minister initially said?” he asked.
Another stakeholder, a journalist, called on both the ministry and the GFF not to allow a distraction in the preparation of the team describing the Afcon as a very important development in the country’s history.