By Oumie Mendy
Incumbent Gambia Football Federation president Lamin Kaba Bajo and his team, aspiring to run Gambian football for another four years, yesterday unveiled their programme, summed up as a plan to sustain all aspects of football development.
Addressing a large media conference at the Campaign Headquarters Oasis Building at Senegambia, Mr Bajo said thanks to a good partnership with the government, The Gambia today is a respectable football nation worldwide as manifested by the national team’s qualification to the Afcon for the very first time where it eventually finished sixth, coupled with success recorded by other categories of national male and female teams.
He further revealed that absolute decentralisation of football has been achieved under his regime with every region now represented in the national league. ”We continue to ensure that our league clubs at both national and regional levels are supported, financially, materially as well as conducting capacity building programs, to be able to honour their competitive commitments. These supports are done across the gender divide,” he said.
He further disclosed that in the last eight years, there have been absolute separation of powers between the Executive Committee and the secretariat staff and that his executive never missed holding AGMs, where they present reports, audited accounts, budgets and resolutions, all of which have been approved by the members. ”Today we also enjoy improved relations with Government, Fifa, Caf & Wafu as well as many sister member associations. We’ve also introduced term limits for the first time in Gambian football to deter people perpetuating themselves in power,” Mr Bajo said.
”We’ve developed and implemented clear and precise grassroots football development programs in collaboration with FIFA, CAF and the Schools Football Association while giant strides have been made in the area of Women’s football development and gone are days when parents and society frown at girls and women who play football because of the policy direction, actions and partnership with FIFA and all relevant stakeholders.” On infrastructure, Mr Bajo lamented that that is one of the key factors impeding the rapid development of the game in the country. ”This is one area we have our biggest challenges during the last four years. The Executive Committee committed itself to use some of the Fifa Forward Development support to gradually improve the existing football pitches used for the national leagues in Banjul, Brikama, Serekunda East, Manjai, Brikama and Serekunda West as well as construct new sites in Gunjur, Busumbala, NTTC and improve the Bakau Mini Stadium and to complete the Soma Pavilion started earlier. We also have plans to construct 5 Regional Fields in the provinces, and the construction of a swimming pool at the Football Hotel is at an advanced stage. Due to administrative delay, slow in accessing of funds from Fifa and challenges with consultants and contractors, significant delays happened impacting negatively on the grassroots and national football calendars,” Mr Bajo said.
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