First Lady Kicks off unity tournament finals

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

She was welcomed with fanfare – hundreds gathered at Sambuya village entrance to welcome the First Lady: the occasion was the football finals between Tanji and Tujereng villages, after six other teams from various coastal villages were eliminated.

Sanyang Scout band, women cultural groups from the various villages, youths and school children sang, cheered in joy as the First lady’s five vehicle convoy swept to the village just outside Gunjur, over 35 kilometers journey by road from Banjul. It was a Thursday afternoon and the usual heat of the sun; dust and other engagements were put aside for this event.

Dressed in a red and cream coloured wooden wax sewn in a ‘daagit’ style with a long skirt, the First Lady walked from her seat under a canvass to the ball. She held the two sides of the long skirt at around the knees; put her left leg forward and swung her right foot to kick the ball towards the centre of the field.

Deafening screams, and a standing ovation from the spectators – hundreds of them from all the surrounding villages, lined around the football field – greeted this moment.  

The tournament was named ‘Fatou Bah Barrow Football Tournament’ – in honour of her support to the investors’ quest to build a 210-capacity eco-tourism camp and skills village in the area.

D110, 000-prize money was distributed among the competing teams.

The tournament brought together eight village teams in Kombo South – Gunjur, Sanyang, Kunkujang, Sambuya, Banyaka, Batukunku, Tanji and Tujereng. It was funded by Tuteema Sunrise Gambia Ltd., a Finnish investment group venturing into eco-tourism and livelihood sustenance projects in the village.   

Tanji who emerged winners after a goal-less full time, made sure they netted three goals-to-one against Tanji in the post-match penalty shootout. D45, 000 and D40, 000 cash prizes were respectively given to the winning team and second place, along with gold and silver trophies respectively. Consolation cash prizes were also given to each of the participating teams. “The aim is to foster unity among the youths, encouraging them to look inwards and stay in the villages to engage in livelihood ventures,” an organizing committee member, Lazar Kujabi said. 

Author: Sanna Camara