In response, GFF president Mustapha Kebbeh maintained that the appeal case the GFF lodged over the issue would receive a positive hearing once Caf see all the documents and study the circumstances, adding that this was a genuine administrative error.
Yesterday, The Standard reached out to many seasoned football personalities for their opinion on the matter. Because of the controversial and finger-pointing nature of the entire saga all but one of the contributors preferred not to be named, but here are their thoughts:
Ex-international football and current sports leader: I think we should accept quilt and move on.
Regional Football leader: The easiest thing out of this is to accept blame and ask for a pardon from Caf. You see even though in The Gambia one would seem to believe the GFF that this is a mistake. Caf as an institution does not have local knowledge of things here and they only go by the assumption that The Gambia wanted to use a player called Ali Sowe and forged his age to have him the competition which went foul, period. No amount of explanation can convince them. But again, if the GFF accepts quilt, that may have other implications especially on the current police investigations. So this is really tricky indeed.
Club representative: I trust and believe in the GFF. We all know that as far as the Ali Sowe case is concern they were not in office when a wrong date of birth was given for him on a Caf online registration form. So when the GFF needed him this year they use his right birth date. They could not have known about the error because they were not there then and are not planning or even remotely thinking of cheating so they supplied his real date of birth. I am sure Caf would find this logical.
Former nawettan footballer and video club owner:
I am surprised that Kebbeh said he would not go to CAS. I think he has a case. Let him forget Caf. They are a mafia club. I trust that the explanation he gave to The Standard immediately after the Alie Sowe thing came up is very understandable. Alie Sowe case is a mistake that was not deliberate. If Caf does not want to listen, then let him go to CAS. He must not be afraid at all. He did not kill anybody. In fact the GFF are just lucky to inherit punishment for an error that was committed even before they came to office.
A journalist: I think the GFF should get an expert to analyse the evidence they have and determine whether sufficient grounds to go the CAS have. If there is not enough, then they should swallow their pride and accept guilt.
Kebba Yorro Manneh: Former GFA secretary general:
I think the GFF should write to Caf and if possible Fifa and say we are sorry and ask for a pardon. To save their face they can made good use of the Rectification Committee in this matter. Let them make use of them by according them a status as a transitional rectification body who can go to Caf on behalf of the GFF and apologise and plead for a pardon. I bet that move will receive sympathy from Caf. Then whoever get elected or returned at the coming congress would have a fresh start. That is the way forward.
By Lamin Cham]]>