By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The Gambia Football Federation held its eagerly-awaited 2015 annual general assembly on Wednesday, 30th December, 2015 at the Friendship Hotel in Banjul. The colourful convergence, that brought together sports officials, delegates and the media, was aimed at providing the members the opportunity to review the annual report of the preceding year and approve the activities and budget for the coming year.
In his report, the President of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF), Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo, said as a constitutional requirement, the GFF executive committee organises the annual assembly to report on the activities of the Federation. He said the executive committee commits itself to strict adherence to the FIFA approved constitution and the management of the federation is in line with FIFA, CAF, and as well as the local laws and regulations. The president said they have at all times practised sound management and administrative procedures in line with best practices which promote the separation of duties between the elected executive and the appointed staff of the secretariat.
Upon taking office in October 2014, he said his executive inherited a GFF faced with many challenges, after going through two periods of normalization and suspension from international football. Amongst these challenges, he added, are the loss of trust and confidence of key stakeholders and that the federation was highly indebted, owing over eight (8) million Dalasis to various creditors in the country.
As articulated in their new four-year Strategic Development Plan, the GFF President said they set out to review the structures of the federation to conform to the football development programs and activities. He said as a result, they adopt an aggressive approach to all facets of Gambian football to align with the modern game and its developmental aspirations. While noting that numerous progresses were registered, he did not lose the sight that a lot more need to be done to achieve the ultimate goal of his executive. The president concluded that there will be no room for complacency.
The GFF Executive Committee adviser, Alh Omar Sey, commended the GFF for their invitation, saying it is a sign of respect and recognition of their legacy. He said the assembly is well planned, organized and delivered. Alh Sey expressed his deepest satisfaction with the annual report, saying it captured all the pivotal components that is necessary for the delegates to familiarize themselves with. He thanked the GFF for using the constitution as their administrative guide as this annual gathering is a true constitutional requirement. He called for a common interest by all stakeholders in football, noting that is not bad to criticize if one does it constructively.
While citing some of the developments of the federation, the veteran sportsman said the challenges that lie ahead of them is more than the achievements registered.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Youths and Sports, the Executive Director of the National Sports Council, Mr. Marcel Mendy, said the government is quite pleased to be associated with the event as it is a clear demonstration of the GFF’s commitment to respecting the provisions of the constitution. While calling on sister associations to emulate the developmental strives of the GFF executive, Mr. Mendy enjoined the stakeholders to selflessly put the interest of Gambian sports first. He said the GFF has done extremely well during the past year but however, no one can claim the monopoly of the achievements registered as the GFF executive did not do it all alone.
He said managing and financing sports in the Gambia is a daunting challenge and that therefore, the assistance of the private sector is highly solicited as the government cannot do it alone as it has other relatively significant sectors to develop as well. “If the GFF fails, it is by extension country fails,” he concluded.