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Fifa-Gambia Relations Promising 2-man Fifa mission ends visit

Sep 16, 2013, 10:51 AM | Article By: Lamin Cham

A two-man Fifa mission concluded a two-day visit to The Gambia, the first contact with the world governing body since the new GFF leaders came to power, with both sides remarking that the visit was most impressive anda groundbreaker for broader close corporation.

Speaking to The Point after a marathon talk with GFF officials and tour of football infrastructural facilities in the Greater Banjul Area, Mr Christoph Suppiger, from Fifa’s Finance department, said he is impressed with the new idea and plans of the new leadership of the Gambia Football.

“They have good ideas and plans and they want to change things with a clear vision of how they want to achieve this. So our impression is positive,’’ he said.

Asked to comment on possible areas of Fifa assistance towards these objectives, Mr Suppiger disclosed that there are different programmes to help the GFF achieve its objectives, especially the Performance programme which traditionally starts when new leaders take over and when Fifa would send expert to analyse the situations of that country and decide together with the leaders of that association areas they would need help to achieve their short- and long-term objectives.

“So priorities are pointed out and follow-ups made in areas such as marketing, finance and communications to name a few,’’ he said.

Commenting further on financial management, a topic that dominated the football community in the period leading to the elections, Mr Suppiger himself a Fifa financial official, said they held fruitful discussions with the GFF officials who he said are a good mix of people with backgrounds in development, finance and other professions.

Mr Sampong Kablan , the Fifa Development Officer based Abidjan, said they are delighted to come to Banjul to meet the new GFF leaders to know what is on the ground and ‘’we are ready to work with them’’.

In his reaction, GFF president Mustapha Kebbeh reported that his team is very impressed with the outcome of the meetings with the Fifa officials, adding that their discussions were frank and fruitful.

“These are experts in development, finance and administration and our talks covered governance, management and our vision to take Gambian football to another level.Fifa is a critical partner in any football development and we believe that this meeting has opened the door for us to move to where we want to take Gambian football,’’ he said.

Mr Kebbeh said once the different experts arrived from Fifa and the specific areas identified after a thorough evaluation, they would come out to the people to put them in the know as they want to run a very transparent system which would include everybody in the football society, fans, players and the public.

“When we were in the election process we have selected to be guarded in our proclamations to avoid making statements in a vacuum. We consider every step as a learning process from which we would capacitate ourselves to move forward and of course with the people who would always have their chance to assess us and give their inputs,’’ the GFF president said.

Kebbeh also paid warm tributes to the entire Government machinery of The Gambia and the Chief patron of the GFF Football, President Yahya Jammeh, and through him the Ministry of Youths Sports for taking keen interest in football and ever creating the conducive environment that allows work to achieve objectives.

“The period since we have come to power is short but the warm reception we get from government, the people in footballandsociety in general is very appreciative, ‘’ Kebbeh concluded.

The tour party included Second Vice president Kebba Touray, executive members Lamin Camara and Borry Darboe, and Admin. Secretary Babucar Pa Sulay Jobe.