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Baks Touray's Withdrawal

Apr 22, 2009, 7:52 AM | Article By: Charles Sarr Thomas

Last week Abdoulie M Touray (alias Baks) took a step that cannot be only termed selfless, but also has been truly honourable. With only a few days to the close of nominations for the GNOC presidency, Baks announced his withdrawal in support of Major General Lang Tombong Tamba who, by the way, we in sports shall continue to refer to sportingly as just Lang Tombong.

In his statement,' Baks Touray made mention of Lang Tombong's sterling leadership qualities and indeed his strong passion for sports and youth development. This cannot be disputed. The statement would strike one as accurate, genuine and, above all, sincere.To expound a little, Lang has been responsible, at times single-handedly, for a lot of the progress in Gambian sports and youth development. He started on the more difficult road of introducing and popularizing inter-departmental sports competition. Having succeeded in rousing and engaging many inactive bodies in the Public Service, the rest was relatively easy. Lang helped promote veterans football, himself playing for Cedar Football Club. He got the National Army competing in the May Day Sports Championship which in only two appearances he was able to win. He supported the GNOC Awards Banquet at which he has received coveted awards for his team and for himself. Lang formed and backed the Armed Forces football team that has competed impressively in the GFA League, and competed abroad against foreign Forces.

While involved in the continued promotion of all these activities and events, Lang also has been Vice President of the Gambia Football Association, as 2nd and 1st Vice President successively. Additionally he assumes sensitive positions in security matters within the GFA as well as at the level of CAF and FIFA. He and Seedy Kinteh have successfully brought back the honour of the African Cup. Who knows, they might bring home the World Cup from Nigeria come October.

Of course, I don't claim to have covered the whole ground on this versatile soldier and gentleman. My only worry is the extent to which he can discharge these various responsibilities adequately if he takes charge of them all: namely Army Chief, GFA Vice President and GNOC President. Maybe he might relinquish the GFA position. Maybe he might not go ahead with GNOC. Maybe he can handle them all. Whatever the case, he is always wished the best in his undertakings particularly in the area of sports and youth development.

Regarding Mr Touray, he has taken an honourable step. His decision, I am sure, will be respected by most, if not all, of us in the sports fraternity. We can hope, however, that he continues to serve sports in general and the GNOC in particular. His own contributions have been valuable, nationally as well as at the level of the IOC, ANOCA and the Commonwealth Games Federation. His valuable experience therefore should not be allowed to go to waste. Rather, we could build on it, and he should continue the good work for sports development and promotion as he has already vouched to do in his official statement. That is the only act that would be more honourable than his recent withdrawal in the interest of sports development an progress.