All with the view of focusing on community ownership. It also plans to discuss possible changes to the present day ownership of clubs, where an individual or group of associates owns a football club.
The organisers, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, MOYS, said they believe if a way is found around this, the future of the game would be brighter than the decades spent in wilderness, including of course the recent period of total decay.
So The Standard mounted a vox pop to gauge people’s thoughts on the matter ahead of the important event.
Former GFA secretary general Kebba Yoro Manneh one of the oldest voices advocating a national football conference naturally jumped for joy describing it as a golden opportunity to discuss the ills of the Gambian game. He told the Observer that the initiative could not have come at a better time; when the country’s football is faced with so many problems, pointing out the recent suspension from all categories of Caf competitions.
“It is indeed a welcome development. When I heard of it I just reminisced on all what I have been advocating; but as I have said, thank God that the minister is coming up with things that I have really advocated for over the past years. Strategically, he is well-placed and I am glad that we are going towards things that we can do better to map out our strategies for the way forward.”
He urged the minister to get seasoned and knowledgeable people and use them, but to first have a think-tank body that will be used and let there be a lead consultant who knows things well. “People who live it and experience it should be brought forward to map out the strategies.”
Moving on, The Standard yesterday called a seasoned football administrator who said any move to change the current football set up should be a genuine frank approach free from politics or witch-hunting. “Everywhere in the world clubs exist and are owned by people or conglomerates. Yes, here community football is necessary for the popularity of the game but lots of work needs to be done to make it adoptable. Do not be taken by its massive fanfare alone. Consider the amount of violence etc that comes with it too,” he noted.
Ba Jabbie, a zonal football leader said the Super Nawettan model has been proven to be the fastest way to get people involved into the game. “The passion is huge and interest over whelming so if there is way to replicate it perfectly on the national stage, that would be great”.
Contacted for his views on the topics of the conference, Willy Abraham, president of defending champions Real de Banjul said he is not in position to share his views as he has not seen the statement on the conference or its topics.
Ebou Faye, coach of Banjul United said he welcome the opportunity to hold discussion on football. “The fact that it will provide a chance for people to share views is commendable; perhaps when we get down to address the topics we would be more enlightened about many issues especially the bit about club owner ship, etc,” he said.
Abdul Salam Jammeh, former assistant secretary general of the now defunct GFA said the type of changes being envisaged for the league might require changes in the constitution of football since clubs own the league. “After 60 years of football, we should be innovative and move from the old ways of doing this. It is time we depart from this old style that so and so does not exist in Fifa or Caf systems so we cannot do it here. We must work to reflect the circumstances where we operate,” he said]]>