Sep 1, 2008, 9:35 AM
News reaching the Pointsports desk from the Seaview Hotel camp of the Scorpions has it that lack of provision for their feeding has forced the players to leave their training camp to eat at home, then return to camp.
The Scorpions are currently in camp at the Seaview Hotel, as part of their preparations for the African Nations Cup qualifying match at the Independence Stadium in Bakau tomorrow afternoon.
However, to their surprise Scorpion’s coach Paul Put and his charges, they were to learn that there is no food for them at the hotel.
No reason was advanced by the football authorities as to why the players should experience such circumstances, but sources close to the team at Seaview told this reporter that there was no provision made for the feeding of the players in camp by the hotel, leaving them with no option but to go to their homes to eat.
To add weight to the news, Scorpions glovesman, Pa Dembo Touray, who spoke to this reporter from the team’s camp, confirmed their plight.
“There is no food for us and, as I am speaking to you, we are leaving the camp for our homes so that we can eat something.”
According to Pa Dembo, the longest serving member of the current Scorpions team, the lack of food became known to them, when they were told that there was no lunch for them at the hotel, because the bills were not paid.
The administrator of the Scorpions, Bakary Terema Dahaba, also confirmed the newsworthy development to this reporter, which came as a huge blow to the Scorpions, ahead of their crucial match to qualify for the African Nations Cup finals.
This is not the first time the senior national team has experienced such predicament. Readers would recall that recently, there was a crisis over the non-payment of team members’ match allowances.
Meanwhile, when contacted for their reaction, a senior official of the government, which funds the national team, said the news came as a surprise to them.
The deputy permanent secretary at the ministry of Youth and Sports, Ms Kumba Conateh, said “before the team entered Seaview Hotel, which is a Gambia For Gold partner, a deposit of D250, 000 was paid to the hotel in advance (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) for eight days, out of the hotel’s bill of D382, 000”.
“It is news to us that the players have walked out of the camp, without contacting us, just because of lunch. The Ministry is of the view that the Gambia Football Association, which is tasked with managing the national team, should handle this,” she said, adding that this has never happened in Gambian football before.
“Today (Thursday) we paid D57, 000 to the hotel, and tomorrow (that is, today Friday) we are going to finish the payment,” she stated, adding that her ministry was shocked by the move taken by the hotel, during such an important match for The Gambia.
Ms Conateh told this reporter that she had spoken to both GFA president Seedy Kinteh, and Bakary Dahaba, the team manager, who confirmed that the boys were still in camp, and did not walk out, but just went out to look for food.