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Analysis: 2013 Super Nawettan

Jan 10, 2014, 10:27 AM | Article By: Abdou Salaam Jammeh

We would like to join the rest of the country to congratulate Serre Kunda West Zone the first-time winners of the Super Nawettan championship, and commensurate to the losing finalist Brikama for accepting defeat without a fight - the magic word which led to the suspension and near cancellation of the entire championship.

The suspension was necessitated by the unruly and senseless behaviour of fans during the Banjul/Bakau match and the game between one-time champions Lamin and their distant cousins from the nation’s capital, Banjul.

With situation getting out of control and unbearable, the games governing body made a timely intervention in a bid to stop the madness and put measures that saw the temporal suspension of the tournament for at least one week as well as the suspension of Lamin from the championship with a fine of D10,000 but interestingly without officially informing them of their suspension and fine and this episode went on for nearly a week, which in our opinion is not within science of public administration and such a schoolboy mistake should be avoided in the future.

Another schoolboy error was the u turn and the inconsistency in the fines against Banjul, which was increased from D2,000 to D5,000.

Match commissioners or coordinators have clear rules and protocols and such clearly defined rules should not be a surprise and as a remedy the Referees Committee should organize an in-house training course for the old and new match commissioners and inspectors preferably before the commencement of the league.

The meeting between with the stakeholders including members of the security forces should have come much earlier or even before the start of the tournament to iron out major issues regarding security arrangements and not withstanding to hold regular security review of matches for the entire duration of championship as remedial measures to growing dissent among the supporters against the decisions of the referees.

Regrettably, majority of our administrators, coaches, team doctors and the teeming fans are ignorant of the laws of the game or better still some has a shop keeper’s understanding of the rules and regulations governing the tournament and a gigantic and super volcano lay ahead of us in our efforts to educate the growing and sometimes violent football fans on the laws of the game and the importance of fair play.

It would be profoundly useful for people to remember it is the human error that makes our game exciting and every match played in the village, stadium, during the World Cup or Nations Cup, champions league, big city or in a school must have a talking or a conversation point, which made football global spectator sport.

Even the introduction of the so-called goal-line technology would not stop the referees, goal keepers, defenders, midfielders and the world renowned strikers worth millions of dollars from making serious or sometimes expensive mistakes during the course of match.

We are not holding brief for the referees, some of whom made my Sukuta Tigers lost to a disciplined and determined Lamin side during the Super Nawettan finals held at the nation’s cathedral of football in Bakau few years ago.

Maybe, it is the wrath of God or the malice of my boss that made Sukuta to lose to Lamin in an exciting encounter that glorifies the youthful exuberance of the two teams.

Jokes aside, referees must remain steadfast in upholding the laws of the game as an indelible and central tenet of football.

In order to rescue our game from unruly fans and arrest football from the ugly trend of crowd trouble and destruction of facilities, the organizers resolved to using the Independence Stadium as a relatively secured place with modern facilities to keep the marauding fans apart and to ensure maximum security coverage of the remaining matches amidst calls from a small but determined pressure group to take thegames back to the communities where fanfare and financial rewards are more encouraging and much greater than the Independence Stadium despite its elephant size, iconic status and tranquil environment.

Maybe, it is time for us to engage our constituents in dialogue and wider consultation to provide lasting solutions - for lack of better words - to the growing menace of football hooliganism.

With the 2013/2014 season just around the corner the crowd trouble and substandard refereeing is causing consternation and a serious problem facing football, and the Oxford graduates at the football house must give this demon with a giant size red card. We don’t reward people for their bad behaviour.

Cognizant of this worrying development and given the importance of security at the league matches, it would do a world of good the GFF to fast track efforts in appointing the GFF/FIFA security officer to help coordinate security matters for both local and international matches rather than outsourcing security matters to mere volunteers.

The golden rule for the league is no security, no match and we cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes of the just ended Super Nawettan tournament in terms of security and other logistics.

To conclude, we would like to congratulate the GFF, members of the super nawettan organizing committee, zones, players, coaches, the security, the media, fans and most importantly the sponsors for the job very well done.

We would also like to call on the business community to come forward and support the GFF to adequately prepare our men and women to represent our country in international competitions.

Another area that requires an immediate and urgent assistance is the sponsorship of the national league.