Oct 6, 2009, 6:49 AM
We learn with sadness the reported arrest and detention of 18 young people by the police, for playing football in Niani Sukuta in CRR.
Our information was that they played football to mark the end of fasting.
If true, such action would not help develop the game of football in the country.
As stated before in this and other pages of this paper, sports particularly football is very important in any country including The Gambia, for many reasons.
Sporting events brings foreign exchange earnings into a country; promotes good health for the players; and, also fosters unity and understanding among people and communities.
In any case, it is only through grassroots football that we can spot talent in our young persons and harness those hidden talents.
We therefore do believe that playing football in the provinces should not be discouraged, but encouraged.
The ministry of Youth and Sports and local authorities should work to sensitize rural youths on the time to play football so that it does not negatively affect their farming activities.
Definitely, when it is managed, football could yield benefits for communities and the young players involved.
Working on the farm has a time, just like playing football.
What is essential is to ensure that football is held across the country, at a time and period which does not affect farm work.
Promoting grassroots football must continue as public policy, since it contributes to the success of Gambian football.