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Congratulations Lamin Kaba Bajo!

Sep 22, 2014, 9:55 AM

Fifty-one club and zonal officials over the weekend decided the fate of Gambian football at the GFF election, where 28 out of 51 voters elected Lamin Kabba Bajo to serve as President of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) for the next four years.

We would, therefore, like to heartily congratulate the president-elect and welcome him to the new responsibility.

The voters have spoken and decided that Bajo should be at the helm of affairs of the GFF, which was in turmoil for the past four years.

Over that period, the country’s football association has been found wanting, with allegations of mismanagement of funds and age-cheating, which resulted in the dissolution of the FA on two occasions.

The FA needs a leadership of high caliber like Bajo, who has vast experience in administration and management covering sports and other disciplines.

We hope and pray that Bajo and his team would learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.

The new executive is now faced with the challenge of changing the status quo of the FA for the better.

One of their first tasks is to talk with FIFA and CAF to lift the ban on football competitions slapped on our national teams and clubs, which have been suspended for two years - 2014 to 2016 – from participating in international football competitions

Another area of priority is to improve the league competitions by zonalising and strengthening the teams and clubs, since most of the clubs have financial constraints.

Government should encourage the private sector and national GSM companies to come onboard to finance the game, which is no longer leisure but business. Without money, sports in general cannot achieve the desired results.

We should also recruit high caliber coaches to train not only the Gambian clubs, but also the national teams at both senior and junior levels.

Football should be promoted countrywide, with organized competitions across the country. From the grassroots level, taken from primary and secondary schools; there should be annual competitions, as in the days of Father Gough. Veteran footballers should be recruited to be posted to schools as PE teachers.

Government should also consider giving incentives to those corporate institutions supporting football in the form of tax concessions and the like.

Mr Bajo and his team should also make good use of the FIFA subvention, introduced in September 1999 in The Gambia.

The FIFA subvention should be put into good use to support and promote the development of football in the country.

We should also commend and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives to see Gambian football on the right track, before the FIFA subvention.

These people include Ousman B. Conateh, the late Housainou Njie and Gabbi Sosseh, who during hard times mortgaged their properties to banks to keep football alive and kicking in this country.

There are others such as MC Cham (the longest serving president of the GFA), Tapha Ngum, Babou Cisse, George Gomez, Dr Ibrahima Samba (who was WHO AFRO director-general), the late B.O. Fofana, the late B.O. Semega Janneh, Omar Sey (a one-time CAF and FIFA member) and Ousman Sillah, who all served as GFA presidents.

People like the late Louis Prom, the late Shyben Madi, the late Borbor George, the late Solomon Njie (a lawyer), the late Ousman Saho, Kamal Milky and many others have contributed to the good administration and financial sustenance of the FA, founded in 1952.

Young Gambian football administrators should emulate these gentlemen for their love, commitment and dedication to football, because during their time they invested their own resources in the development of football in The Gambia.

Stakeholders in football should also be encouraged to come on board for the promotion and development of football. They should put aside personal interest and work sincerely in the interest of the nation.

The Normalisation Committee, under the leadership of Hon. Alhaji Sillah, took office in July through September 2014. Despite their short term, they managed to ensure everything was intact and did hold elections within the timeframe given to them by FIFA.

We should, therefore, commend them for the good work, for conducting a successful election.

In their short span, they were able to travel countrywide to discuss with stakeholders of football to see how best to address the malaise in football in this country.

Once more, Welcome Kabba Bajo!

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Steve Jobs