Last weekend, communities in Kombo South and Sanneh Menterreng commenced a six-team football tournament funded by GACH, a mining company extracting sand in the coastal settlements. Tujereng defeated Batokunku 2-0 in front of their home fans in a well contested opening encounter witnessed by GACH CEO Abubakary Jawara, community elders and hosts of other dignitaries.
The D450,000 football tournament is part of GACH’s social corporate responsibility commitment to the communities they operate.
The tournament is organised under the theme; fostering unity and understanding within the communities, while promoting sportsmanship and good health. Brufut, Batokunku, Tujereng, Sanyang, Gunjur and Kartong will battle it out for the big prize. All the six teams were given D25,000, a football and a set of jersey each for their preparation and participation in the tournament.
Amadou Manneh, site supervisor of GACH Mining Company, commended the communities for their hospitality and assured them of the company’s continued support.
He said the tournament is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility contribution.
“We believe having an effective social corporate responsibility programme will contribute positively to all stakeholders as well as add value for the organisation itself, and ensure it operates in a sustainable way. We hope the tournament will help promote peace, unity and understanding within the youths, enhance good health and develop sport within the communities,” he said.
He said the D450,000 tournament is funded by GACH ‘s mining component, adding that the champion will be awarded with a giant trophy and D250,000 cash, runners-up D100,000, while the tournament’s best player, best goalkeeper and leading goal scorer will each get D10,000. Manneh added that the company intends to lead by example in the mining sector.
“We want to put the communities in the forefront of whatever we are doing – we believe getting them involved and making them feel part of everything will go a long to help foster relation and mutual understanding,” Manneh said.
The chairman Tujereng village development committee, Cherno Njie and Fabakary Marenah, chairman of the local organising committee of the tournament commended the mining company for staging what is believed to be the biggest funded tournament in the area.
Mr Marenah urged the participating teams to promote peace, tolerance and understanding among themselves throughout the tournament.
Speaking earlier at the presentation of the cash prizes, jerseys and footballs, Amadou Manneh, GACH site supervisor said his boss is not only focusing on fulfilling the agreements he had with the communities but he is committed to build a strong mutual relationship that would serve the interest of both parties.
“We have spent about D300,000 in the tournament,” he said.
Manneh appealed to the youths of the communities to exercise maximum discipline and take charge of the tournament, adding that the company has more initiatives in stock to implement in the communities in the future.
The Tujereng VDC chairman, Cherno Njie said the significance of the football tournament cannot be overemphasised, adding that it will promote peace and unity among the six communities.
“So, this tournament means a lot to us as a community because it is the first time a mining company is sponsoring a tournament of this magnitude for the youths in the area. We have witnessed mining here for several years but we have never seen or heard of any of those companies giving back to our communities. So, GACH deserves to be commended for their foresight,” he said.
He urged the youths to take good use of the opportunity and maintain a high standard of discipline throughout the tournament.
The GACH communication officer, Mafugi Ceesay said the company prides itself with giving back to the communities they are mining.
“We are committed to community service and we will never hesitate in giving back to the communities when the need arises. This tournament is one of the many things we are doing in the different communities we operate,” he said.
A representative from Kartong village Ousman Camara olso commended the company and assured them of his village commitment to continue working with them in the spirit of national development.
“This is the biggest initiative that has come our way as youths and I want to commend GACH and assure them that the tournament will be played in a free and fair environment,” he said.