Dec 18, 2008, 4:26 AM
Kabba Bajo, president of the Gambia Football Federation, has refuted claims
made by Youth and Sports Minister Henry Gomez, saying the minister’s statement
was “misleading and contrary to the reality”.
Bajo said the minister requested them to submit documents of the project they are embarking on and they did that since last week but “are yet to receive any official communication” from the minister’s office.
Minister Gomez, in an interview with The Point published yesterday, said GFF claimed that it had rehabilitated the FIFA Goal Project to the tune of D7 million but “today it has only a toilet, a fence, and some windows and roofs”.
According to the minister, GFF claimed to have invested US$500,000, equivalent to about D20 million, of which US$325,000 was spent on furniture.
In view of the foregoing, the sports minister called for the investigation of the FIFA Goal Project and for the GFF to tell Gambian youth when they are going to deliver the Goal Project to them.
Surprised and disappointed
In his swift reaction, the GFF President Bajo said they were surprised and disappointed to read the minister’s comments in the media.
He said the premise of the minister’s argument was an indication that he had been misinformed and that the minister should have reached out to them at the GFF directly before making such “misleading comments” in the media.
According to Bajo, the GFF never received subvention from The Gambia government since he and his executive committee assumed office three years ago.
“They [the government] only once in a while pay for the allowances and air tickets of the players directly to travel agents,” he said.
The GFF president said they never had any problem with the sports minister and are committed to maintaining the cordial relations that exist between the GFF and the minister.
Bajo said in spite of their good intention towards the sports minister, he never paid them a courtesy call even though GFF had formed a delegation to pay him a courtesy call at his office.
“The minister only paid us a surprised visit unannounced during which we have a long chat and he said he would pay us a courtesy call,” the GFF president said, adding that during the surprised visit, the minister expressed satisfaction with GFF and commended them for their work.
He said in view of this, the minister should have contacted or written to them at the GFF directly than going to the media to create “bad blood” among them.
He further explained that the GFF has fully funded two international friendly matches between The Gambia and Guinea Bissau and it would also fund the games against Mali in the qualifiers.
“We know the government is constrained and as such, we are ready to complement them fully,” he asserted.
Unfortunate MGI termination
Commenting on The Gambia government’s termination of the international gateway contract with MGI, Bajo said the termination was “unfortunate” as MGI was the main sponsor of the senior national football team and it also used to pay the head coach of the team.
However, he said, GFF would look for alternative source of support to continue to maintain the services of the head coach.