Scorpions to dress in local market kits for CAR clash?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

With The Gambia hosting the Central African Republic (CAR) in an international friendly in a little over 10 days in Banjul, the Scorpions could be wearing ordinary jerseys bought from the local market in its final test game ahead of the resumption of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria in September.

This is because, Gambia Football Federation (GFF) sources have told this medium that after more than nine months in his custody, the minister of Youth and Sports, Henry Gomez, has to date, refused to hand over several cartons of football equipment he received from former National Team sponsor, Multimedia Gateway International (MGI) on behalf of the Federation.

GFF sources further intimated that the Federation wrote to the Minister in May, 2017, informing him and at the same time inviting him to the official handing over of the said equipment but to its dismay, when it was broadcast on the national broadcaster GRTS, it was stunning seeing Minister Gomez and the Executive Director of the National Sports Council, Marcel Mendy, receiving the equipment on its behalf without the knowledge of the GFF. “To date, the equipment are in the possession of the Minister at his house in Brufut, even though he promised on five separate occasions to hand them over but we are yet to receive any,” our sources intimated further.

Our source indicated that last time the country’s women team played against Guinea Bissau in Bissau, GFF bought jerseys from the local market to dress the players and they also spent nearly a million dalasi on their transportation and allowances coupled with the purchase of the jerseys. “With the senior team also playing CAR in Banjul on March 23, we are set to spend over D3million from the coffers of the Federation on the players’ tickets, accommodation and allowances and buy jerseys for our players because the Minister is holding on to our equipment due to reasons best known to him. Despite our financial constraints, we are getting used to spending on our various National Teams now,” our source added.

In another development, our GFF sources claimed that Minister Gomez has travelled to Germany on two separate occasions on the pretext of securing the services of a coach for the National Team without the knowledge of the Federation. Our sources added that it was when he failed to make any headway that he engaged The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) to help in securing a coach through the Olympic Solidarity.

However, our sources added, the NOC told him in no uncertain terms that it would not be a party if the Federation, as the beneficiary, isn’t part of the arrangement from the beginning and it was only when the local press published information with regard to his futile search for a coach that he formerly informed the GFF.

The GFF has since replied this week, expressing its consternation, shock and dismay in the manner in which the search for a coach is handled and with regard to the actions of the Minister since his appointment, towards the Federation.

The GFF letter, our sources disclosed, also reminded the Minister the several correspondences sent to him with regard to the Ministry’s decision as flouting several clauses on the contract it signed with the previous holder of the coaching position. The Ministry has failed to pay the previous coach’s salary from July, 2017 and two years gratuity on the deal, our source revealed.

The Minister was unavailable for comments but a football pundit who spoke to this medium on condition of anonymity said Mr. Gomez could have been the best minister in the Barrow cabinet if he had watched his steps and did not involve himself in a fight geared towards serving group interest instead of the country.

The pundit expressed disappointment with the continuous lack of cooperation between him and the Federation even after the intervention of the Executive, thus alleging that an inference can be drawn that his dealings could be compromised due to his actions. He therefore, called on him to work closely with all national associations in the interest of the country and its athletes.