But in a step towards reconciliation, delegates attending the Saturday AGM came from a wider section of the membership, among them boxing, weightlifting and the deaf sports associations, some of the most vocal critics of the GNOC leadership.
Speaking at the AGM, Musa Koteh, the president of the Weightlifting Association, called on the stakeholders to stop the bickering and focus on the development of sports and the Gambian athletes.
Koteh said he was prepared to work for a total unity of all national associations towards the common goal of bringing development to Gambian sports. ”A lot of time has been wasted and great potentials missed as we fight among ourselves,” he said.
Koteh’s observations were also boosted by Borry Darboe, representing the Gambia Football Federation, who said the fight for positions in the different sporting disciplines is seriously hampering the progress of our sports. “Gambian sports has been in the doldrums for about two years now, all because of selfish interests,” the ever outspoken Darboe said.
Meanwhile, in an apparent mood of fresh relief and hope, the GNOC president, Momodou Dibba, gave a rousing speech promising better times once there is unity and purposefulness among the Olympic family. He said the GNOC will continue to support all sports associations in the form of finance and other areas like capacity building programmes. But he said associations must first put their houses in order by putting in place a proper operational set up.
“A series of capacity building programmes in high degrees such as masters programmes in Hungary and the USA are being planned for this year,” he enthused delegates to a roaring applause.
Pa Alieu Jallow, the president of the Gambia Boxing Association, another die-hard opponent of the GNOC also attended and even went further to lay the brick for the newfound understanding in the family. “I’ve put aside all my differences with GNOC now. We can work together as a family for the progress of sports in our country,” he said.
The vice-president of the GNOC, Abdoulie Jallow, announced an approved budget of the GNOC of D14 million for 2014. He also revealed that the GNOC has sponsored several overseas training programmes for athletes and financed their participation in international championships. Observers who attended the AGM told The Standard that there are strong signals of a willingness among the Olympic family to work together. However, there are still few associations such as lawn tennis and cricket which are still very much opposed to the leadership. Many are also optimistic that the newfound outstanding could translate into a change of heart on the side of the Ministry of Sports. ”That would be splendid for Gambian sports,” noted another analyst.
Author: Momodou Gajaka]]>