By Lamin Cham
Yes we must celebrate and rejoice that Mattar Mboge and his Under-20 team have provided much needed remedy to a boring and frustrating period of football heartbreaks in The Gambia. But let us face it, considering what it takes to be noticed, we have a lot more job to do . After all The Gambia has gone far beyond this stage with the same Under-20 team. We qualified to the African Youth Championship and won Bronze in Brazzaville in 2007 to reach the World Series in Canada the same year.
Therefore much as we appreciate and genuinely rejoice in the good name the country got from this Wafu success, the real achievement even at this level will be made if the team qualifies to the African Youth Championship, the qualifiers of which begins this weekend.
This is what really matters and our chest pounding officials at Football House (especially those from Baddibu), must learn fast not to sit on their laurels or paint huge campaign slogans around the Wafu Cup success (it’s an election year in Gambian football too) to forget that the real thing is to get to the CAN at senior and junior levels.
I have always said and I repeat here that the only way to stay appreciated for any football leader is to secure results, trophies and accolades in the field of play and not through presentation of fool-proof documents of plans and policies embellished in glossy and flowery language. This Football House can count themselves lucky that they came at a time of massive cash windfall from Fifa and Caf and we must begin to show for it in terms of development not just in infrastructure but in tangible results. This Wafu Cup is an encouraging sign but we cannot afford to be carried away by high marks from a cheap mathematics sum at a mock exam and skip our study lessons for the O level examination itself. And do I even talk about the CAN qualify against Algeria, Benin and Togo? Hmm.
In conclusion, let’s hope that this Wafu success will also inspire The Gambia government to sit up straight and review its relations and support with and for the Football House and football in general. It is the combination of all parties; that it is the combination of Government and people working together in unison and harmony that will lead us to achieve the progress that we all desire.