By Tijan Masaneh Ceesay
The Gambia qualified to her first Nations Cup tournament and yes, the praises and gratitude to many who paved the way are making the rounds and rightfully so. However, for posterity’s sake, it is only appropriate that Pap Saine, a man seldomly mentioned, is recognised for his unprecedented and unrivaled contribution to the development and growth of Gambian football.
I had the distinct honor of working with and watching Pap at his craft. Whether it was reporting for Reuters, Jeanne Afrique, Zone 11, Le Soleil, Sportif Afrique, Senegambia Sun or commentary over Radio Gambia, I was always a stone’s throw away and got a lot of work done with him; most notably leading and promoting the campaign for the name SCORPIONS for all our national teams. I have seen Pap travel by lorry in the rough terrains of Guinea Conakry to join us in Freetown in 1984. The man was resolute in his desire to see Gambian football develop. When we only had two papers covering sports in The Gambia, namely The Gambia News Bulletin and the Senegambia Sun, it was Pap Saine who featured Gambian football in the international media. By day, the man was an announcer and host of various programs at Radio Syd, and after that, it was all Gambian football.
He has traveled extensively with our national team and knows the history attached like his back hand. He truly deserves commendation for his work in Gambian football which also included interpreter at technical meetings on match days where match officials were francophone. Calm and quiet in demeanor, but, was always in a happy mood doing work for the country and it was pro bono too. Let me also add, on most of the trips to cover away matches, Pap funded himself to the best of my recollection. That is a patriot right there. Therefore Pap, your work of four decades has finally come to fruition. I have no doubt, God willing, you can’t wait to return to Yaounde where you once covered a rainy Wallidan/Canon Yaounde derby. Thanks for your service to country, you gave it your all; and, yes, another generation has delivered for you. It was an honor working with you and sitting next to you in the commentary box all those years. You belong to the Gambian Sports Hall of Fame and I hope the Gambia National Olympics Committee will follow the record and induct someone who earned the right like yourself.
History is certainly a path left by the past