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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Stabilising Gambian football


The last few years have been the most tumultuous in Gambian football. Executive committees were swept aside in rapid succession with both conspiracy theories and deliberate acts of gross misconduct blamed for the upheavals that saw the country slammed with a universal ban, the first time in our   history. 


As the football stakeholders go into another election this Saturday, we entreat them to make a sobering reflection on the recent saga and vote in, without sentiment, the person best suited to redeem the very   soiled image of the country. They should choose the person who will abolish the cancer of divided camps and sectionalism in the game; the one who will refuse to be tempted to put his hand in the till when the millions of dalasis dedicated purely for football development come.


 We are absolutely convinced that failure to take public opinion on board, coupled with inability to embrace all and sundry without regard to origin and opinion, have contributed to the polarisation and intensity of the cold war that has torn the football fraternity apart.   


So, as much as we recognise that the voice and choice of the 51 electors may be the most important in determining who takes Football House Saturday, should we equally know that unless they take in the opinions and aspirations of the larger Gambian community in mind as they cast their ballot, they would soon find their choice unacceptable by most Gambian. Here we must stress that the 51 electors on Saturday must realise that they will be deciding for Gambians interested in football in general and not just their vous members.


Secondly, the task that lies ahead is one of urgency, requiring serious thought and well-worked out strategy to among other things convince the international stakeholders of the readiness of the country to come clean on these serious allegations that have led to the global shunning of this country. Any stakeholder who fails to realise the depth to which the country has sunk into over these allegations would not be doing any good to the nation and better keep away. We can however breathe a sigh of   relief that both the Alliance and Team Kaba have prioritised the cleaning of our image in their respective manifestoes. 


That aside, football stakeholders last month met to redefine the parameters of the game on the local front. Among the landmark changes some have advocated include a drastic change to the current format of the league. Yes some of the candidates captured these in their manifesto but how convinced are Gambians that they are ready to implement these nagging proposals that have eluded many leaders of our game? Who among the three candidates have demonstrated a courage and master plan to carry out these proposals to the aspirations of the people no matter who is affected?


Finally, we wish to ask the stakeholders casting their ballot on Saturday. Are you prepared to shape the future if Gambian football? To create all those opportunities for the young ones to become the Jattos, and Modou Barrows? Then vote wisely. We are told there will be no food for the delegates in the election hall but we hope there is some here for thought.


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