Mar 3, 2011, 1:08 PM
The cardinal principle in any sport is fair play, tolerance and discipline. Without them, forget it, as sports could only generate tension, chaos and plain violence.
The importance of tolerance and good spirit makes it possible for the entire globe to compete for just one cup, taken away by a single nation every four years while the rest of the world go about their business without a grudge.
That is the beauty of sports, and football to be exact. These virtues are equally relevant in all processes leading to the building of a just sports society, which is what Gambian stakeholders are embarking on this morning in the GFF elections.
For many months now, the football family lived through a tumultuous time with each side of the divide taking turns to cast aspersions on the other.
Now that the moment of decision has arrived, we call on our football stakeholders to cease fire, and put their faith in the solution for a permanent peace and tranquility in our game of football, by ensuring that an orderly and mature election process takes place at the Paradise Suits hotel today.
The reality is that Gambian stakeholders in sports are a small family, and since sports is driven by passion and interest, the few among us who have these indispensable qualities must not be allowed to tear themselves apart.
Our diversity in opinion should be better used as multiple sources of ideas not points of endless disagreements. The best strategy - to achieve both genuine development and a united force - is for all to adopt positive attitudes towards the common goal.
The current rift if not put behind swiftly could threatened the future of the development of the game. There is no doubt that it is the same stakeholders, be it on the victorious or the vanquished side, who would meet again to work on the implementation of the lofty projects in the new constitution.
This point naturally leads us to give a word about the immediate task before the eventual winner today, sum up in one word - reconciliation.
The wounds opened by the past period of rancor are threats to the unity of the family, and an obstacle to any speedy start to business.
The election winner should soon after taking office embrace the opposition and involve them into implementation of the programmes, rather than keeping away from them. In the same vein, the losing side must learn when to accept the peoples’ verdict and march on.
For either side, the priority is to get Gambian football back to the days when even in the absence of money, the game was everyone’s delight to watch and talk about; the desire to groom and nurture footballers to fulfill their potentials; the need for the young ones to play on pitches not far from their environs; the need for scouts to respect and scramble for Gambian talents; the need for our national teams to conquer the region and reach epic continental tournaments, and the need for football to attract and get community ownership.
That is the task ahead of you all in that hall. Are you listening? We are following.
‘‘Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.’’