• Sainey Darboe, Editor-in-chief

Football: Good Morning Gambia !!! 'The Zonal is back'

Current Champions - Gunjur (Photo credit: Omar Jatta, Gam Football Forum) 

The biggest sporting event on The Gambia’s Sports calendar is right here, as preparation's for the most supported football competition in the country gets to full swing. This afternoon, Wednesday 10th October, at 2pm, the pre-tournament ballot will get underway at the Kairaba Avenue head office of the tournament's sole sponsors, the FIBank. The banking giants who have been bankrolling the competition for the third year running. The event which is set to kick-start the cup competition, will also include a presentation of football jerseys to all 12 participating teams from the sponsors, and is expected to be attended by those from the the media fraternity, the representatives of the teams, and the officials from both the GFF(Gambia Football Federation) and the Super Nawettan Organising Committee, whose new chairman is the former CDS and retired Lieutenant General, Lang Tombong Tamba. 

Photo credit: Omar Jatta (Gam Football Forum)

And the event will involve the pre-tournament discussions and the preview of all the other modalities surounding the competition. Discussions on the tournament's draw had already gone underway yesterday afternoon, at a meeting held by Tourney's Technical Sub-Committee ahead of this afternoon's event. The popular annual competition will kick-off over the weekend, on Sunday 15th October, at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. It will involve teams from the respective Nawettan centres from across the Greater Banjul, Banjul, the Kombos and Lower Nuimi. Who will all be vying for the ultimate glory, including the current Champions, Gunjur, who were the surprised winners last term, following a 2 -1 victory over the boys from the Capital, Banjul, having come from a goal down. It was a remarkable win and showed an unprecedented shift in the balance of the competition, as it broke the quadropoly that existed between Banjul and the teams in the Greater Banjul area. 

Photo credit: Omar Jatta (Gam Football Forum) 

The Super 'Nawettan' or Zonal Football as some may call it, is the most popular sporting event in The Gambia’s football calendar, and this time the competition will see an increase in the number of teams taking part, with two more new teams, Foni and Kombo East joining the set up, taking the number from 10 to 12 teams. Teams joining the championship are selected through the seasonal 'Nawettan' competitions held in the most urban regions of the country. The name 'Nawettan' is derived from the Wollof word 'Nawet' meaning the rainy season (Summer), which is usually between the months of July and October, when The Gambia experiences it's wettest season with lots of rainfall during this time. During this period different Nawettan Centres organise football competitions across the country, and the Zonal tournament comes at the end of these Nawettan seasons, capping it as the Super tournament. And it's widely supported, with the most euphoric fanfare seen in the country as the different regions go tribal. And this year's fiesta will be no different and am looking forward it. 

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