By Fanta Madi Swaaray
It is confirmed that the Gambia will be represented at the sixteen states WAFU Cup of nations in Ghana from the 9th to 25th September 2017. It is also confirmed that a Twenty-Five (25) man squad comprising 18 players and 7 officials were paid their travel allowances, camped at the sea view hotel and will leave Banjul on Tuesday September 5, for the Ghanaian capital, Accra where coach Omar Sise’s boys will lock horns with the B team of Ghana in the tournament’s opener on 9th September. The team spent two months or more in technical training and have played a number of test games to fine tune the squad and according to coach Omar Sise, the team is fully prepared and ready for the fight.
Wafu as a sub-regional body has secured a lucrative contract and sponsorship from a well-established company aimed at showcasing its products and services through football in West Africa and it has so far successfully organised a workshop and a tournament for cadet players. The sub regional sporting body is headquartered in the Gambia with a veteran footballer Mr. Jammeh Ebrima Kawsu Bojang as its Secretary General. Therefore our national team participation in Ghana will be considered as a double blessing having the chief administrator of this august body also a Gambian. With that in mind, it is incumbent, apt and necessary for our ambassadors to the championship to be reminded that they are representing the Gambia and should therefore uphold the good name and standing our beloved nation for the entire duration of the tournament.
The strong performances shown by our team that represented us at Wafu Saint Louis tournament in Senegal to remember and immortalized the late Mam Wade Wade, ended in disgrace and the Gambia as a nation was ridiculed by the Senegalese and other media for their failure to accept the spelt our rules of the game, that if the final match ended in a ninety minutes score draw both team play an extension period of 30 minutes (15×2) and later 5-5 penalties if there is no winner after the extra time. Had it not been the maturity of the Senegalese spectators and the loyal service security agencies covering the match, our boys could have been exposed to a real danger for bringing the beautiful Senegambian cup final between the Gambia and Senegal into disrepute.
Truth be told no nation or organization want to see his invited guests including state ministers and other senior government and business executives assembled for spectacle only to disgraced by the unruly behavior of clueless team officials to openly argued and urge the players out of the field while the honored guests are seated. With the ready to travel, it is our considered view that the right people and knowledgeable with the inner workings of WAFU are selected to guide the team in Ghana.
The sub-regional championship in Ghana is aimed to showcase the talents and the Gambia has all to play for when they meet the host in the tournament. The GFF is commended for the early preparation and the team needs our collective prayers and support.