Fourteen Gambian referees including three women have been accredited with Fifa Badges in recognition of their outstanding performances in refereeing over the years.
Among the beneficiaries are Papa Bakary Gassama, one of CAF’s top referees, who is currently in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea to officiate in the ongoing Africa Nations Cup finals, which kicked off in style at the weekend; Ansu Jatta, Mawdou Jallow, Bakary Camara and Mariatou Jobarteh - all central referees.
Nine others, all assistant referees, were also decorated Fifa badges before a jam-packed conference hall of the Gambia Football Association (GFA). They are Dicory Jawo, Musa Jawara, Sulayman Touray, Sulayman Sosseh, Salifu Baldeh, Karamo Fobes, Yaya Fanneh, Isatou Bah (Lama) and Abie Ceesay.
Speaking at the accreditation ceremony held at the GFA office in Kanifing yesterday, Bakary B. Baldeh, GFA media officer, described the day as a very important occasion in the history of Gambia football given the fact that this has been the first time a large number of Gambian referees including women have been accredited Fifa Badges.
Alhajie Aduwa Mbye, referees technical instructor of The Gambia, in his remarks on the development, said it was not the first time Gambian referees were elevated to this position but was quick to note that it was the first time it was made public.
“This has served as a motivation factor for the referees,” said Mr Mbye, who is however hopeful that next year more Gambian referees will be on the Fifa list going for more international competitions.
Lamin Camara, acting chairman of the
He acknowledged the support of the GFA and the entire football authorities in building the capacity of Gambian referees. “The GFA has always been there for the referees in terms of building their capacities,” he added.
Camara was however quick to disclose that the main challenge for the progress of referees in the country “is financial support”.
He appealed for financial assistance to tackle the monetary problem affecting the Gambian referees.
The administrative secretary of the GFA, Pa Sulay Jobe, who spoke on behalf of the GFA, said the development of referees is high on the GFA’s agenda, adding: “The GFA executive will do all it takes to help Gambian referees perform at the highest level.”
Alagie Faye, veteran Gambian referee who described the occasion as a joyful moment in the annals of Gambian refereeing arena, offered some kind words to the accredited referees.
He used the platform to remind the accredited referees that the badges are to be defended or else they will be taken away from them and given to those who would make the best use of it.
“Refereeing is not an easy task and you must seek advice from the veteran referees,” he noted, saying: “Remember that having received this badge is not enough; rather you should keep the flag high, which is very important, and that can only be possible if you keep on training, reading books and watching your match videos for the good of your career. It is through that you can reach where we have never reached before, like the World Cup finals.”
Gambian referee Mawdo Jallow gave the vote of thanks on behalf of his colleagues to mark the end of the auspicious ceremony.