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Concerted Efforts Needed in Growth of Gambian Football - Secy Touray

Apr 18, 2008, 7:24 AM | Article By: By Ebou Manneh

The Secretary of State for Fisheries, Hon Yankuba Touray, has spoken of the need for a concerted effort to be made by Government and the private sector to promote and prepare Gambian players for the export market in order to eradicate poverty through sports.

He said The Gambia is yet to make significant growth in playing in the English Premiership or other highly rated European leagues. He said, "it is in recognition of the fact that my government has recently established a sports development fund to promote sports at all level. The fund will revitalise schools sports in collaboration with the Department of State of Basic and Secondary Education through the re-introduction of PE teacher training, to be piloted in some regions"

Secretary of State Yankuba Touray was speaking on behalf of President Alhagi Yahya AJJ Jammeh at a dinner making the formal handing over of 22 plots of land to the 2005 former U-17 team in Salagi layout located between Sukuta and Brusubi, A cheque for D1,120,000 was presented to the 1st Vice president of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) as match bonuses to the U-20 team.

He said, "In recent times football has become the most popular sports and one of the biggest industries contributing to the economically developing countries, especially in Brazil. It is among the first five contributors to their economy through remittances from the foreign players in that country. Contributing to economic growth and getting people out of poverty".

He said Africa is also beginning to realise the benefits secured from this noble sport through the export of players to mostly European clubs.

Secy Touray called on the private sector to participate and develop strategic alliances with sports Associations for social and economic development and for the development of our sports.

Major General Lang Tombong Tamba, first Vice president of the Gambia Football Association, in his remarks said the president has made similar mountainous gestures to the senior national team after their stunning performance during the World Cup in Germany and African cup in Tunisia respectively.

He said," I would like to assure you of our never-ending and loyal support at all time to HE the President. We stand at an important moment in our history as we embark on a comprehensive football development programme for the U-17's, U-20's and Senior national team for the continental and World Cup qualification rounds."

 He added," the team, christened as sons of the president, are ever ready for more international football glories in the years to come. At least five members of the team are now playing professional football in Europe, Asia and America".

He highlighted that the work and invaluable services of the president to The Gambia Football Association were timely and responsible for the good transition of the team to where it is today.

 Honourable Mass Axi Gye, Secretary of state for Youths and sports described the honour to the teams as a deserving one stating the president has always been the highest patron of the team in any of their outings.

Coach Peter Bonu Johnson also spoke at the occasion, which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Department of State for Youths and Sports Mambanyick Njie.

It will be recalled that the former U-17 team were crowned the 2005 African champions after wining the under U-17 tournament that was held in The Gambia. They also gave a very impressive performance in Peru at the World Championship.

The U-20 team were the bronze medallists in Congo and later went to the U-20 World Cup in Canada in 2007 and the CAF and FIFA youth championships respectively.