Could Gunjur "Nawettan" be heading for another trouble?
Black Stars Football Club
After several pitch invasion episodes which forced last year's Gunjur summer football competition (Nawettan) to last for nearly nine months, it appears the new season will be following a similar pattern.
Freetown United FC, a team that narrowly missed qualification into Nawettan proper, has threatened pitch invasion if Gunjur Sports Committee (GSC) failed to respect the agreement made during the discussion for the qualifying rounds.
Teams in the qualifying rounds and GSC agreed before the commencement of the elimination stages that if Black Stars of Berending Village are not participating as a team, their position will be handed to the best loser in the last round of the qualifiers.
As at the current standings, Freetown FC are the side who finishes as the best losers. However, two teams (Underlion FC and Smiling Coast F.C) are both set to make bids for the said position after receiving information that Black Stars are not taking part in the Gunjur Nawettan.
GSC Competition Manager Momodou Charreh Jibba
When contacted to shed light on the issue, Momodou Charreh Jibba, GSC Competition Manager who is also the 1st Vice President of GSC says his committee cannot stop other teams from purchasing the position of Black Stars F.C. "If Black Stars came to register with us, we will accept their money. It is not our business whether they will select players from Smiling Coast FC or Underlion FC" he stated.
Further asked about the agreement between GSC and the teams, and if his committee is aware of what has been going on between Black Stars F.C and the two teams, Jibba had this to say:
"There was an agreement that IF Berending did not come to take part, the vacancy would be occupied by the best loser. Now, Berending did not yet write to tell us that they are not coming. How can we know that they are not coming? I emphatically put it to the congress that Black Stars FC is in affiliation with GSC. We do not have the powers to stop Black Stars officials from paying and registering a team. It is not an offence IF Black Stars chose to join with either Smiling Coast FC or Underlion FC. If Black Stars did not come to pay against the deadline, then that will be time to bring in the "best loser". Everyone was aware of the fact that some time ago, WORLD XI FC registered with us by filling their squad with Juventus FC players. To set everyone free, this is why I put forward this motion to congress -the majority of delegates have voted and endorsed a resolution that allows affiliated teams to sell their spot. It is not the first time teams are buying position in Gunjur Nawettan. If Freetown FC feels that GSC is unfair or has violated the competition rules, I think they should know what to do. Taking the laws in to their own hands will only cause them regret, Mr Jibba concluded.
On his part, Saidou Bojang, the Head Coach of Freetown FC expressed his anger about how GSC have been treating his side. "They (GSC) have been doing injustice to us since at the intermediate level and they want to make it a continuity. I cannot understand why they are trying to betray the agreement" he stressed.
Bojang added that his side will not have any problem if the team of Black Stars are competing. "But if we see other teams playing under the ticket of Black Stars we will disrupt the tournament" he emphasised. He said GSC are fully aware of all what is going on. "We notified them about everything and Under Lion has also reported some members of Black Stars to the police station for reselling the position to Smiling Coast F.C and members of GSC were called to testify", he asserted.
Saidou Bojang - Freetown FC Head Coach
Black Stars F.C participated in last season's Gunjur Nawettan and crashed out in the Knock-out cup semi-final stages and then "abandoned" a league quarter-final match in a protest against the refereeing after their opponents Reliance F.C levelled 1 - 1 in the closing stages.
Since that abandonment, according to GSC, Black Stars were invited five times for a dialogue to see how best to "continue the game" but, they failed to turned up in all the five times, which forced GSC to rely on the reports of the referee to "penalise" Black Stars and hand victory to Reliance FC.