Malick Sillah for GFF President

Monday, August 06, 2018

FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2018-2022

Malick Sillah for a consistent mission towards sustainable football development in Gambian football

“Change and Change with Dignity 

PREAMBLE

The greatest strength of communities in Africa lies in its Social Capital, which is the bond or glue that holds society together. In our communities you will find unemployed youths many of whom have not progressed in education because of lack of family resources but who congeal together positively in a passion for football.

That is what brought about Nawettan and community football clubs. Sports particularly football can be one of the most effective tools to bring societies together regardless of political, religious or tribal affiliation. Football has a great potential to unite people and could be used as a medium to create public awareness on social, economic and health issues. Indeed as evident in other countries, football is business, football is an industry and football can provide employment and hope for many across all facets of society.

Given its potential to unite communities and to create employment opportunities for especially our growing youth population, Team Malick will unite efforts with partners to project football as a development priority.  Hopefully, this will spur the investment of resources in sports especially football development across the country.

Governments in all countries are the biggest patrons of all sport especially football. Governments provide the enabling environment for the game to flourish by making available, financial, human and material resources. Conscious of this, Team Malick seeks to forge a cordial working relationship with The Government of The Gambia and Local Government Authorities in our bid to grow the game especially in Infrastructural development and National Teams Sponsorship.

We are aware of the fact that the ultimate aim of football fans and partners in football development is to see the National Team’s play in continental and international championships. This however, has eluded The Gambia for many years now. The Team Malick is positioned to judiciously direct resources towards football decentralization to encourage mass and effective participation   of all across the country. This is intended to create a large talent base from which strong national teams could be selected to respectably represent the country. A deliberate engagement of Government, Regional Authorities and international partners would be pursued for the development of infrastructure, which is needed for mass participation in football.

We are also aware that The Gambia’s failure to compete for gold on the international stage has been a function of miss placed priorities over the years. Team Malick will ensure that resources meant for football are not only used for football development but that those football development priorities are clearly spelt out and a high degree of financial discipline is employed.

Women and youth football would always be central to our football development agenda. Therefore, relevant women and youth football development programs will be pursued hopefully, by enhancing the Women Leagues and by forging a better working relationship with School Football Association and local football schools.

Technicians, coaches and referees are the bedrocks of any football development plan. Regular and relevant training packages will be availed to them with a view to ensuring high standard professionalism in the execution of their services. Highly trained professional referees would greatly impact the game. Highly trained and professional coaches on the other hand would serve to nurture talents across the country, which is important in our pursuit for excellence in the game.

Our football has been hijacked and we now have to reclaim it and restore the pride of our National Teams. As a result, Team Malick has decided to come on board as credible Gambians to give the game a clear sense of direction. Our involvement in the past with competent and committed people is one of our strengths in helping us provide effective and efficient leadership.

PRESIDENT STATEMENT

Dear Football Family

My candidature is all about restoring the glory and the winning spirit. The need to unite efforts and to promote fair play is dear to me. The need to accelerate and improve the standard of clubs and the National League through capacity building and financial support to recover what was lost as a result of poor and incompetent management will be a priority. As we head to the forthcoming election for a new Executive Committee, it is my fervent belief that clubs will accept the fact that neither the clubs nor the national teams have been successful compared to our counterparts in the sub region. My team has the commitment and knowhow and the credibility to keep pace with the developments of the modern game. With the huge financial and other resources required for the growth of the game, my team will put in place the right management processes as well as adapt best practices in order to meet set targets.

We cannot afford to see another decade of retardation and or failures. It is time to take our football forward and ensure that FOOTBALL FOR ALL is guaranteed.

My Executive’s program will be based on Strategic Planning hinged on measured and achievable objectives. We look forward to work with you, to develop an all inclusive and comprehensive development strategy that is capable of bringing about the glory we all desire and improve our standing in both FIFA and CAF Rankings.

We will create a platform for youth football competitions to ensure that young people at an early age play football in an organized setting. This will be a ‘Catch Them Young’ concept.

This concept will focus on two areas namely School Football and Football schools (academies). And the objective will be to create a large pool of under 17 players. 

We will create avenues of partnership to interested overseas clubs and organizations to invest in building football schools such as the Jambarr project where youths of this country can enroll and learn football at an early age in an organized setting.

My Administration would work towards gaining significant strides for The Gambia in FIFA ranking with a top 100 Nations spot and qualifying to major International Competitions as our ultimate objectives. System processes will be approached with professionalism.

Cost will be put under serious check that is why we will create an Internal Audit Department for system controls. We believe that for the game to develop there has to be good control and monitoring processes.

A Travel Program Report (TPR) will be introduced for all overseas travels to encourage High Performance Work (HPW). Any officer from an official trip will have to submit a report to the executive for evaluation purposes.

Technicians, coaches and referees are among the bedrock of any football development plan. Regular local and international training packages will be availed to them with a view to ensuring high standard professionalism in the execution of their services. Highly trained professional referees would greatly impact the game. Highly trained and professional coaches on the other hand would serve to nurture talents across the country, which is important in our pursuit for excellence in the game.

Procurement will also be an area of importance as it adds value to the success of an organisation. All purchases and tenders must comply with best practices. We will ensure monies spent are monies well spent.

My Administration would want to give Football a clear Direction based on best practices implemented by competent people equipped with sound knowledge of the modern game. Our strategic planning will be very aggressive with an all-inclusive national development focus. This will ensure that we keep in pace with modern football developments thus regaining the confidence and trust of Gambians and their full participation in game. What we seek is; “Change and Change with Dignity”

STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK

GFF AND GOVERNMENT

In recent years we have noticed an unfavorable relationship between The Gambia Football Federation and The Government of The Gambia. We have heard Football Authorities make unfortunate remarks against some Government bodies that only succeeded in denting the relationship between Government and football. It is our opinion that Government is the most important partner in football development. We have seen in the just concluded FIFA World Cup 2018, how much the Russian Government invested in providing the much needed infrastructure for the successful hosting of the tournament, talk less of the deployment of other state resources including security, transportation and accommodation. Close home, Government continues to provide such resources across the country, which allows for our League Tournaments and Nawettans to take place.

Conscious of this, Team Malick seeks to forge a cordial working relationship with The Government of The Gambia and Local Government Authorities in our bid to grow the game especially in Infrastructural development and National Teams Sponsorship. We would lobby for The Government to consider encouraging medical doctors specialize in sports medicine. We hope such doctors will be able to treat so many young footballers whose careers would otherwise be terminated for sustaining treatable injuries.

NATIONAL TEAMS

National teams are the teams that bring glory to a country and football enthusiasts. Our Senior National Team has been underperforming over the past years with the Scorpions in 2016 losing 4 nil to South Africa for the first time on home soil. The need for The Gambia to be at the CAN finals remains my pre occupation and that, the target for our Senior National Team will be to qualify to the CAN FINALS.

In our step-by-step approach, the qualification of our Senior National Team to CAN and then to the FIFA World Cup would remain top priorities.

Furthermore, a national team administrator would be appointed. The administrator’s responsibilities would include but not limited to working closely with the Technical Director and Head Coach to ensue national team issues are professionally managed.

In view of the sensitiveness and the need for highly professional, qualified and experienced coach with track record in high level competitions, the GFF in consultation with Gambia Government and other partners will encourage and sponsor our National Senior Coaches to pursue PRO/DIPLOMA UEFA Coaching licenses in order to equip them adequately to manage the A and B National Teams.

ELITE FOOTBALL (YOUTH NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAMS)

The executive committee will continue to build the U17 and U20 National Teams to participate and win future junior CAF and FIFA youth championship by maintaining and where necessary recruiting competent technical staff. A technical program to meet the challenges of our football will be developed. To be at the finals and to win youth championships will be the main objectives youth teams’ programs. All National Team players will have Risk Insurance Cover during national duties.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The format of the league will be reviewed to reflect a National character so that a champion will be a real National League champion. 

Like all other countries our football will be gradually transformed from its current Amateur state to a semi-professional league and then ultimately to a professional league. With a semi-professional league and eventually a professional league, it is hoped that the value of Gambian players in the transfer market will increase. To achieve this objective, a football Think-Tank will be set up to work out the modalities. A study will be conducted so that clubs will run the league while the federation provides the logistics.

For a National Federation to run a league competition is out dated. Therefore, consideration would be given to clubs to run the national league while the GFF provides them with administrative support.

REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Football decentralization will be accorded a more deserving attention. This would be done in partnership with local Government Authorities and Regional Sports Committees.

Regional Football Associations will be empowered both in terms of capacity, financial and Technical support in order to manage popular regional leagues that are commercially viable and sustainable to develop and retain local talents. 

All Regional Associations will be provided with the following:

•           Maintain regional football offices that will adequately respond to football decentralization efforts. 

•           Subvention will be increased at least to D500, 000.00 (five hundred thousand Dalasis).

•           The GFF will assist Regional Associations in the recruitment of all the staff needed to run an Association.

•           Each Regional Association will appoint a Technical Officer to head the Technical Department of the region. The Technical officer will be               answerable to the National Technical Director of GFF.

•           Mobility will be provided to the Regions to enhance movement within the region.

MEMBER CLUBS AND REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

The need to assist clubs and regional associations function with efficiency and professionalism to compete with other Member Associations (MA) of FIFA and CAF cannot be over emphasized. In this regards Team Malick will assist all clubs and Regional Associations to build reputable capacity of Administrators and Technicians by providing them with:

a.         Regular and relevant courses for their officials (coaches and other Technical staff).

b.         Upgrading their coaching and other Technical staff in line with FIFA and CAF requirements.

c.         Help build capacity and improve the role of coaches and to encourage clubs to recruit qualified coaches.

d.         Solicit from FIFA and CAF services of football marketing experts to assist clubs in marketing strategies and sponsorship as well as build club fan base.

e.         Adopt a age range or category competitions. This will expose junior players to competitions at earlier ages and would eliminate to risk of rushing them to senior leagues where they may sustain injuries and potentially dent their careers.

f.          Consequently, all the first division clubs will be encouraged to have B Teams that will compete in a B Teams’ Championship.

Football is mainly technical therefore; it is an absolute need for each club to recruit a Technical Officer who will be a liaison with the National Technical Director concerning football development and other training issues.

GRASS ROOT FOOTBALL

Football development requires a bottom up approach. Therefore, grassroots football will remain a fundamental pillar in our football development plan which is why the following conscious efforts will be undertaken by the Federation;

•           Institutionalize Grassroots football within the structure of the federation to include the Regional Associations.

•           Establish standards by which Football Academies can operate within the federation.

•           Monitor and control talents / Academies

•           Provide specific training programs for youth coaches running the Academies

•           Provide equipment for academies

•           Organize inter Academy Competition

•           Organise Annual Grassroots football festivals in partnership with Regional Associations and Associations of football academies.

•           Work closely with the Schools Football Association to enhance the school’s football development.

SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE

Now that a football Turf is in place at the technical training center, a football school of excellence will be formally established and made fully operational. The Technical staff will be tasked to draw up the syllabus, programs and courses from which all member clubs can benefit.

Outstanding junior players from schools and football academies across the country would be identified to form the nucleus of a Dream Team for The Gambia. These interns will be invited during holidays and be camped at the school of Excellence.

LICENSE

Team Malick will enhance the existing processes and procedures in players licensing with the software available and will enhance the competition department to closely monitor any fraudulent transfer activities.

All players must possess a valid license with all the required information including medical certificate of physical fitness of each player which will be fed to a data base in the Transfer Marching System (TMS).  Medical certificates will be a strict requirement for players in the National League having witnessed very serious incidence of cardio vascular arrests in the field of play.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Modalities will be in place for the development and implementation of Futsal and Beach Soccer. We hope to work with The Gambia National Olympic Committee to realize the objective.

DEVELOPMENTAL COURSES

Capacities of all actors in the game will be enhanced if we are to achieve of our goals and objectives. Therefore, in collaboration with partners the following relevant courses will be organized.

a.         B License for 1st and 2nd Division Coaches

b.         C License for Nawettan Coaches

c.         A License for 1st and 2nd Division Coaches

d.         B License for PE Teachers and Football Academy Coaches

e.         Course for Club Administrators/Men and Women Football

f.          Course on Football Medicine covering all Clubs Medical staff

g.         High Level Referee Courses

FOOTBALL AND MEDIA

Media plays a crucial role in football development. Therefore, the GFF media office will be encouraged to work closely with the press with a view to promoting the game. The GFF website will be redesigned to make it more relevant and responsive to the general public.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Currently, the mini stadia in The Gambia are under deplorable conditions. My executive will work in collaboration with the Government, local and international partners to upgrade the existing stadia to their desired levels and construct new stadia in all the regions.

In anticipation of the growing youth population interested in football, we will partner with stakeholders including the sports committees across the country to ensure there are more open artificial turfs countrywide.

FOOTBALL COACHES

Coaches and are the bed rocks of any football development plan. Regular and relevant training packages will be availed to them with a view to ensure high standard professionalism in the execution of their services. Highly trained and professional coaches would serve to nurture talents across the country, which is important in our pursuit for excellence in the game.

The Technical Director will be tasked to work with The Gambia Football Coaches Association to identify gaps in coaches and proffer solutions. The GFF will provide resources.

Coaches Licensing Program will continue. Upgrading courses will be organized to ensure that Coaches meet the required standards.

The Licensing program of CAF is compulsory and is equivalent to UEFA license. Therefore Coaches performances will be assessed before moving from one level to another. A logging system will be introduced where Teams will record the duration and achievements of their Coaches and a minimum of 2 years coaching will be required before going to the next levels.

Bilateral programs will be arranged for Gambian Coaches to be on attachments with high level clubs on a periodical basis. This will enable them enhance their respective coaching abilities.

WOMEN FOOTBALL

Women football is a key component of my executive’s football development plan. We believe that with the right investment, women football could be expanded throughout the country. This is required in our bid to compete for gold in international competitions. To achieve these objectives;

•           There will be sub Regional committees for women football in each Region.

•           The women league will be enhanced and games would be played at local grounds to encourage spectators.

•           In a bid to develop women football, Nawettan zones will be encouraged to organise women Nawettan and eventually participate in a Super Nawettan.

•           The Live Your Goal project will serve its purpose of introducing the game to the younger ones and not a mere festival.

•           In line with FIFA requirements, the 15% Allocation for women football will be fully utilized for women football development.

•           GFF will make sure that a Desk Officer at GFF provides the manpower and resources required for running an efficient Women Association.

•           The Women teams will be registered to compete in CAF and FIFA competitions.

REFEREES DEVELOPMENT

Gambian referees have over the years had remarkable feats on the continental and global stage. Headed by a retired FIFA referee, Team Malick will ensue that the success of Gambian referees on the international is improved on.

Resources provided by FIFA for the development of the referees will be used for that purpose. Highly trained professional referees would greatly impact on the game.

We will lobby for FIFA/CAF instructors courses for our retired referees. This is intended to keep them relevant in the game as well as serve as a source of motivation for upcoming referees.

NATIONAL TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

As the name of the Federation implies, Gambia Football Federation (GFF), the nomenclature of the Technical Director is deemed to be changed.

A National Technical Director will head the Technical Department, while the Regional Associations and the Clubs will have Technical Officers. This will invariably suit the present new structures of the GFF. In accordance with the decision of CAF and FIFA, all training matters have been transferred under the portfolio of the National Technical Director and not the CAF Training officer as obtainable in the past.

SUPPORT TO CLUBS

In line with our objectives to professionalize the National First Division League, team Malick will extend meaningful support to clubs. This would be done by mobilizing local resources and by judiciously investing resources provided by the FIFA support to clubs Program. 

•           Clubs will be supported with Three Hundred Thousand Dalasis (D300, 000.00) annually.

•           Support clubs participating in the CAF competitions

•           Relevant training Programmes for club administrators

SPONSORSHIP AND MARKETING

Given its popularity with hundreds of thousands of followers across the country, football has the potential to attract sponsors. However, it remains a mystery why our national leagues have still failed to attract major sponsorship. It is our belief that with a properly organized professional league, the lack of sponsorship will be a thing of the past. Therefore, to attract sponsors:

•           A study will be conducted with the objective to reorganize the format of the national leagues in order for them to be more attractive to sponsors.

•           The FF cup will be nationalized to give it a national image thereby attracting mass spectators, which could be a source of attraction for sponsors.

•           The national leagues organizing committee will be tasked to revolutionize the current league set up and ensure a dependable football calendar.

SUPER NAWETTAN

This is the most popular and attractive local football competition. In our view this is because the competition belongs to the Nawettan Centers and therefore, the local people have identified themselves with the tournament. In this regard, Team Malick would facilitate the setting up of a Super Nawettan Committee constituted by representatives from GFF recognized Zones.

The GFF would provide the necessary support for the smooth running of the championship. The proceeds will be ploughed back to the communities.

Supper Nawettan will be gradually expanded to include Women Supper Nawettan.

Conclusion

Team Malick looks forward to engaging Government, other national and international partners in football development to chart a way forward for our football development. We are aware of the divisions that currently exist in the football family. We would work tirelessly to unite all of us stakeholders as we lead this country towards achieving gold in football. Once we are in office, we will renew our commitment to football development, roll our sleeves and get to work. We will put in place processes and procedures that allow the football house staff to conduct their business professionally while we provide the guidance expected of a modern day Board of Directors for indeed that is what we are supposed to do.

The Gambia needs change thus our Slogan, “Change and Change with Dignity” 

MALICK SILLAH

RETIRED FIFA FOOTBALL REFEREE

Source: Picture: Malick Sillah