A Gambia Football Federation presidential aspirant, Sadibou Kamaso has said The GFF could have done better with the organisation of the Afcon qualifier against South Sudan played at the Lat Dior stadium in Thiès Senegal , last Saturday.
Speaking to The Standard in Thiès where he personally funded transportation and ticketing of a bus full of fans, Kamaso said while he admits that the GFF is not to blame for the shifting of the match to Senegal, Football House knew about CAF’s ban on the stadium much earlier than they acted to find a venue. “Secondly, I have not seen anything extra ordinary at the Lat Dior stadium that makes it much better than the current situation of the Gambian stadium. Apart from the individual sitting arrangement, I have not seen anything fundamentally better there than the Independence Stadium or that cannot be done here in good time. You don’t need more than D10 million each to repair the dressing room, scoreboard or paint the pavilions. Even the pitch in these modern times can be fixed in no time. I think GFF could have positive influence collaborative method with the government and other stakeholders to fix this stadium rather joining the chorus singing the tune that a D100 million budget is needed for Gambia to play at home,” Kamaso said.
Back to the Thiès match, Kamaso observed that the D2000 round trip coupled with a match ticket costing D2500 and above is too much for the average Gambian football fan, adding that the GFF could have devised more collaborative plans with the national transport company and other stakeholders to make the burden a lot easier for fans. ”Logically if the fares and tickets are more affordable, there would be more buses and more people than the crowd at that stadium,” he said.
Kamaso also lambasted the GFF for letting the fans go through a laborious ticketing formalities which required ticket holders from Banjul to go to a place in Thiès to validate their tickets before they could be issued wrist bands to enter the stadium. ”This had really inconvenienced fans some of whom arrived just in time for kick off but had to go through an unnecessary procedure that could have been done in Banjul if the GFF printed quality tickets that cannot be duplicated if that was their fear. The GFF events management committee should have concentrated their sensitisation using the Gambian media rather than the Senegalese media which has little impact on Gambian affairs,” he said.
Kamaso commended the GFF for the decision to sponsor fans to Thiès but said taking a whole group of people, such as EMC, Oganisation Committee, regional presidents, favourite club officials are all politically motivated and unnecessary expenditure. He also slammed the lack of vision of the GFF to use the chance to market replica shirts of the Gambia during this match.
The Standard contacted a GFF official on these allegations who said:” Kamaso can afford to start politics. We cannot. We have a duty to do and that is to concentrate on these Afcon matches to successfully place the country in a position that would help us qualify to the Nations Cup again. When the official times come for politics Gambians would have the chance to hear from us”.