Is The Gambia Football Federation Silencing Critics?
By Omar Jatta:
They say 'you can say the Donkey is ugly, but you can't say it's teeth are not white.'
The present GFF (Gambia Football Federation) has faced a lot of criticism over the years, over many unsubstantiated issues, at times vindictive and spiteful. To a point, the Gambia was saved in the eleventh hour from the verge of a FIFA suspension over allegations of third party interferences, when a letter signed by it’s Secretary General Fatma Samoura in November 2017 called for the immediate, unconditional reinstatement of the Federation's executive members, who were suspended by the National Sports Council over allegations of misappropriation of funds.
But I have said this back then, and will repeat again, that this administration is bringing change to the way the country's football is being managed, and the recent infrastructural developments coming to the fore are a clear manifestation of these small, but meaningful steps towards the betterment of the national game.
Before very recently, you will have to turn earth and its contents to get mere information about the Gambia's football, particularly the league football matches and results, even for those in the country, not to talk of those overseas. But the commissioning of a very active GFF website has overtime made this far much easier for all fans both home and abroad, with regular, in time updates of match schedules and results at our disposal, either via the website or the Federation's Facebook page, which is great and has to a degree, increased the level of interest in the national league, particularly among fans abroad.
Just last week, the people of Gunjur and the Kombo South woke up to the fantastic news of the GFF handing over the construction project of a modern mini stadium to be built in Gunjur, which was handed over by the Federation's President, Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo, to the project's consultants, Fenta Consultants and Architects, who in turn handed over to the contractor, Jala Kolong Enterprises. A similar project also is earmarked for Busumbala. And the likes of Banjul, Brikama, Serrekunda East and West Mini Stadiums will also go under improvement works, which will see the installation of LCD lightings and ancillary facilities at the at these venues, with Serrekunda East, West and Manjai Mini Stadiums to receive new grass pitches.
The Football Hotel (NTTC) will also receive a new ground pitch with a modern state-of-the-art pavilions along with a swimming pool with an outside serving area. And the Federation also promised to build new arenas around the country, including Kuntair, Bullock, Kweinalla, Bansang and Basse.
This week's announcement of the acquisition of two new 35 seater buses for football stakeholders is another incisive step in the right direction, and will help immensely to take some of the travelling burden off the football club's and other stakeholders, and of course help in the decentralisation of the game across the country.
Others may argue, there has not been much improvement on the pitch for the national side. That will be a fair argument to a degree, having failed again to make that break through to a major international competition, but as the saying goes "Rome was not built in a day". These infrastructural developments are a step in the right direction and overtime will make the game accessible across the country and that will certainly improve the talent pool at our disposal innsaaAllah.
By: Omar Jatta