Gamtel/Gamcel scoops awards at 7th SJAG Gala

Tuesday, May 03, 2016
Gamtel/Gamcel, apart from being the pioneers of telecommunications in The Gambia, have carved a niche for themselves as one of the powerful teams in various sporting disciplines in the country.

There is a solid and robust sports department which coordinates the company’s participation in sports.

One sport that Gamtel has imprinted a footmark is football.The football team is the current champions of the league, having won it last year.Prior to that, Gamtel became one of the teams to have won the FA Cup four times in a row.

At the international front, Gamtel FC is hardly absent from CAF club competitions, especially the Confederation Cup.Last season, as champions of The Gambia, Gamtel competed in the African club champions league.However, one of the team’s most memorable international sojourns was in the Wafu Cup of 2011 when it reached the finals in Lome, Togo.

Gamtel enjoys a great standing in the history of Gambian football contributing in the scouting and nurturing of great talents in all categories of the national teams.

In terms of supporting and sponsoring sports events, Gamtel/Gamcel have a big hand behind many successful events by providing logistics and material support.

This year, Gamtel’s partner, MGI, won the Company in Support of Sports Award.MGI is the main sponsor of the Gambia national team since last year.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Gamtel/Gamcel won some of the most coveted prizes at the recent 7th annual awards and gala of the Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia (SJAG) held at Djembe Hotel recently.

For a start, Gamtel’s Yaya Ndong, a fleet footed and highly imaginative player, grabbed the admiration of the scrupulous eyes and minds of the journalists who, having watched and reported on his career in the past season, voted him the Best home-based Player/Athlete of the Year.

Ndong is perhaps the brightest example of Gamtel’s talent hunting and nurturing.His goal-scoring instincts and creativity is second to none in the league.

“He was just superb in the last season,” one commentator said as Ndong was going to the podium to receive his award.

The match-winning striker’s stoppage-time goal sparked an incredible contrast of fortunes to deliver Gamtel’s first-ever national league glory over Gambia Armed Forces, on the final day of the 2014/15 league season, 31 May 2015, in Brikama.

Yaya joined Gamtel that season from Samba Football Club, after developing his playing career with Gilkock and Cherno Samba Football academies.

As a young aspiring striker, Yaya came under an intense media spotlight since he won the 2013 SK West Nawetan Golden Boot, before been scouted by his current club coach, Mustapha Manneh.

The 1.57m striker took the chances that were presented to him to feature prominently in the recent matches of the Under-17, CHAN and now the Under-20 with Coach Omar Sise, months after he joined the team.

Ndong was selected for the Under-17 team in 2014, was a regular feature in the CHAN team that was knocked out by Senegal, and is currently a player for the Under-20 side.

Coach of the Year

Gamtel again returned to the podium to receive the Best Coach of the Year Award, deservedly awarded to the team’s coach, technician and technical guru, Tapha Manneh.It was under his guidance that Gamtel wrote many pleasant success stories in football.

The soft spoken tall and lanky coach has a subtle approach, but his consummating knowledge and great technical capabilities never fail to inspire his team to victory.

“His greatest asset is discipline and stability.Tapha would smile even in the mist of trauma.He always calculates a sweet ending to any difficult starting.Another thing is, he knows his players very well and is good at pegging them to win matches,” a senior coach said of Tapha as he was going to receive his award.

Tapha Manneh is today the most successful coach active in the domestic league.After learning the trade under football coach turned politician, Alhagie Sillah, Manneh went solo having replaced Sulayman Corr as the Gamtel coach.

He guided the telecom giants to four consecutive FA Cup titles, and reached the finals of the WAFU club championship.

He had also participated in several African confederation cup competitions, where he reached the second round on two occasions.

In 2016, Tapha Manneh guided Gamtel/Gamcel FC to the African champions league for the first time, after guiding Gamtel to its first-ever league title last season.

He also lost in the finals of the FA Cup to Wallidan in 2015, making it six appearances in the finals of the competition altogether.

Team of the Year

Next was the Team of the Year Award which went to the club itself, Gamtel FC.That award epitomised the successful sporting year for the club.

Club President Kebba K. Touray, accompanied by senior management staff, received the prestigious award that put Gamtel/Gamcel down in the history of Gambian football as the best team of the year.

Preamble

Gamtel FC was crowned domestic league champions of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) first division league for the first time in the history of the club, in June 2015.

Despite a poor starting in the competition, Striker Yaya Ndong’s 47th minute spot kick against the Gambia Armed Forces, in the week 21 fixtures of the First-Echo Partners-sponsored division one league, was all but enough to earn the telecommunications giants their first top flight crown. The team collected 44 points in 22 encounters.

In the same year, Gamtel/Gamcel reached the finals of the FA Cup, but eventually lost to Wallidan FC in the finals played at the Brikama Box Bar Mini Stadium.

Bravo Gamtel/Gamcel, the first and the best.

Culled from The Standard