Mar 4, 2009, 4:49 AM
A five-day CAF/FIFA refereeing course for twenty-six elite referees drawn from the first division and second division leagues yesterday kicked off at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Joseph Wellington, Fifa Technical Instructor from Ghana, described the course as significant, noting that the capacity of referees need to be lifted every day to develop the game of football.
Mr Wellington said he was highly impressed with the Gambian referees, who "are lifting the image of the country" in the game high at the international scene.
"The participants are ready to learn during the course and I have also urged them to open their minds to learn during the course," he said.
Mr Wellington also took time to give a piece of advice to the media, saying nothing should stop sports journalists from going during the course to "sit down, listen and also learn the laws of the game".
Jammeh Bojang, secretary general of the Gambia Football Association (GFA), speaking on behalf of Seedy Kinteh, President of the GFA, commended Fifa and Caf for providing the course director, referee development officer and the physical instructor to upgrade the capacity of the referees.
"Over the past years our referees have improved and that we have seen them do well in the international scene," Mr Bojang said, adding that anyone who wants to develop has to educate him or herself or be educated. "Football education is very important in the game," he noted.
He urged the referees, coaches and administrators to take up personal education and to allow others to educate them.
Mamudou Max Jallow, executive secretary of the National Sports Council, speaking on behalf of Alieu K. Jammeh, permanent secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, advised the participants to share the knowledge they will gain from the course with their colleagues who could not take part in the course.
He also appealed to the GFA to collaborate with sports committees other regions in the country to be organising similar courses at the grassroots level.
Mr Jallow also called on all national associations to come up with similar courses and finally assured the GFA of government's collaboration with them.
Kebba Masanneh Ceesay, technical director of the GFA, chaired the opening ceremony of the course.