By Sailu Bah
He said the idea of establishing the academy was conceived when he was in Primet Street. “Every day, after I closed from work and on my way home, I used to encounter dozens of children running towards me asking for support to buy football for them and I have been buying football for them,” he recalled.
He said later on when he travelled to the UK, he tried to make some contacts for those young kids to help them with football items.
“In 2006, I met Craig and Isabel Goodman and spoke to them about the academy and invited them to witness the training session of the kids at the beach in Banjul, where they have their weekly trainings with their coach Tijan Yula,” he explained.
The founder of Afia Academy said the couple was impressed by the skills and talents of the kids. He said Craig and Isabel acknowledged that the kids have potentials and needed help in the form of football items and educational materials.
“When the couple returned to the UK, they started organizing fundraising activities for the football academy,” said Jobarteh.
He concluded by thanking the couple for their support in raising funds to buy the football related items and text books.
Speaking on half of the parents, Mr. Tony Blain expressed gratitude towards the gifts and thanked the donors, manager and the coach of the academy for coming up with this good initiative.
“These items will help to develop the potentials of our kids both in sports and academically. As the saying goes ‘all work no play makes jack a doll boy,” said Mr. Blain.
He said the academy is doing a lot to develop the potentials of the kids and urged his fellow parents to support the academy as it is there for the welfare of their kids.
For his part, Mr. Marcel Mendy, Deputy Executive Director of the National Sport Council (NSC), deputizing the Minister of Youth and Sports, thanked the donors and the management of the academy on behalf of the ministry. He advised the children to make best use of the football items and books.
He urged the parents to help in monitoring their kids both at school and outside the school.
He further advize the children not to put all their focus on playing football, but that they should also try and excel in their education, adding that the academy should also take the responsibility to ensure that the kids are also performing well in school.
Speaking on behalf of the children, an 11 year old boy, Tony Blain Junior, also thanked the donors and the management of the Academy on behalf of his colleagues. He assured the management and the parents that they will make best use of the items they have received.