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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Unbanning of rural summer football

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The ban on the summer nawettan jamboree in rural Gambia has been lifted, a press release from State House revealed over weekend. The ban was imposed in the form of a presidential directive last year aimed at promoting farming among the rural youths where there is farm land and to avoid too much time being spent by the youths on organising and playing football matches.   

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Though the ban was not open to public discussion, football stakeholders have been silently looking for ways to engage the authorities over the matter and to put an appeal for flexibility on the matter in the interest of total national football development.

With the ban now lifted, it is expected that thousands of rural youths intending to stay or come to the Kombos for fear of losing their football form and prospects would now stay to play among their communities.

Recently, regional football association officials  across the rural areas met and appealed to the Normalisation Committee of the Gambia Football Federation to engage the authorities over the matter arguing that nawettans are the only surest and fastest way to develop football, especially in the rural areas.

Accordingly, the release from State House announced the ban has been lifted but advised that a balance must be struck between time for football and the need for youths to help their parents on the farm since food production remains essential on the government agenda to eradicate hunger and dependence on foreign food importation.

News of the lifting of the ban was greeted by immense pleasure around the country.  A regional football official in Bansang, travelling on the south bank road on Saturday said he personally saw youths celebrating the news with spontaneous warga warga matches in several villages.

“Mr Cham, I want you to relay our profound gratitude to the president for this decision which has long been awaited. Now we can seriously work on developing grassroots football,” he added.

The vice chairman of the Normalisation Committee Ba Jabbie thanked President Jammeh for strengthening the hands of the NC by “this pleasant piece of news which is a personal triumph for us” as the body currently in charge of football. “My chairman, Alhagie Sillah, had assured the youths around the country that President Jammeh loves youths and once he understands their feelings he will guarantee their wishes as long as they remain responsible and patriotic to the nation. And this move has demonstrated that in a big way,” Jabbie said. 

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