Aug 21, 2015, 10:20 AM
The Point has learned through reliable sources that the suspension of the four Gambia Football Federation (GFF) officials will last for three months.
It could be recalled that Youth and Sports minister Alieu K. Jammeh on Wednesday announced the suspension of Mustapha Kebbeh, GFF president, Buba ‘Star’ Janneh, 1st vice-president, Kebba K. Touray, 2nd vice-president, and Basiru Bajo, 3rd vice-president, at a press conference held at the conference room of the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
The minister announced that the GFF officials, who were elected on 31 July 2013, were replaced for failing to fulfill their duties and obligations.
The sports minister’s move came following the suspension of the GFF for two years from all CAF competitions.
This decision was announced by the executive committee of the Confederation of African Committee (CAF) recently.
The GFF, it would be recalled, registered the Gambia national football Under-20 team for participation in the preliminary qualification rounds of the CAF U-20 Championship.
Called the African Youth Championship, it will be hosted by Senegal in March 2015.
The Gambia was paired to play against Liberia, at home and away, and the winner will proceed to the next round of the qualifiers.
The first leg of their match was played in Monrovia, on 6 April, which the Gambia won 1-nil. The second match was scheduled for the weekend of 26-27 April in Banjul.
However, Liberia’s football association appealed to CAF claiming that the Gambia Football Federation fielded age-ineligible players in the Monrovia match.
CAF investigated, and the organizing committee for the U-20 competition ruled that five Gambian players were not eligible to participate in the competition.
The U-20 competition is only for players born on or after 1 January 1995, as stated in a CAF circular dated 2 September 2013 and sent to the GFF.
The five Gambian footballers were all born in 1994, according to their passports.
The Gambia was consequently disqualified from further participation in the U-20 competition.
Going by the regulations of the African U-20 championship, further sanctions were expected to follow, such as the two-year suspension from all CAF competitions for deliberate “cheating”.
Meanwhile, after CAF announced Gambia’s disqualification from further participation in the U-20 football competition, the National Sports Council (NSC) set up an investigative taskforce.
It was asked to establish what went wrong, and who was responsible for the unfortunate disqualification of the Gambia U-20 from the CAF U-20 championship 2015, to suggest corrective measures and to provide a report within a week.
The taskforce was set up on 21 April 2014, and held its sittings at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
It invited and interviewed 10 officials, including the second vice president of the GFF, Kebba Touray, GFF secretary general Abass Bah, GFF technical director Ebrima Manneh, and GFF administrative secretary Baboucarr Jobe.
The report of the investigative taskforce stated that Peter Bonu Johnson, the senior national team coach, and Saihou Bah U-20 team manager “failed to appear before the taskforce.”
The taskforce on April 29 submitted its report to the executive director of the National Sports Council, in which it made a number of recommendations.
It recommended that the executive of the GFF be asked “to honourably resign for failing and embarrassing the nation and losing public trust”.
“In the event the executive fails to resign honourably, the National Sports Council (NSC) should advise government on the way forward,” the taskforce added.
The five-member taskforce also recommended that the U-20 team manager “who failed to attend the interview (with the taskforce),” the GFF technical director, as well as the administrative secretary of the GFF “be relieved of their duties”.
“In future, the NSC and the GFF need to jointly and meticulously examine all technical matters to advise each other adequately,” the taskforce further recommended.
The members of the taskforce were Malang Jassey, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Banjul, Lamin King Colley, chairman of the National Sports Council, Pa Suwareh Faye, deputy director of planning at the sports ministry, Marcel Mendy, deputy executive director of the NSC, and Ebou Faye, general manager of the Independence Stadium and Friendship Hotel.