#Article (Archive)

Football Gambia delegates arrive in Banjul

Jan 25, 2011, 12:26 PM | Article By: Momodou S. Jallow

Forty-four people from the United Kingdom on Friday arrived in The Gambia, where they are expected to participate in a mixed programme that consists of community involvement activities and football coaching for two weeks.

The first batch, led by  Mr Ian Stapleton, founder of 'Football Gambia' (FG), a UK based charitable organization geared towards promoting football and education in The Gambia, arrived in the country at the weekend  ahead of what promises to witness a series of high-profile programmes.

The high-powered delegation includes Ernst and young employees, Middlesex University staff and students, and fully qualified UK-based football coaches.

The second batch will arrive in Banjul on Thursday for the big event, Pointsport has gathered.

Among them are Zoh Mnuor (Scouse), Plize Offer and Eganer James, who are all UEFA qualified coaches.

Phil Rostom, a camera man and a production specialist working for the famous Showtime Arabia Channel, Christian Taylor, an arts specialist, Muhammed Akhbar and Billy Wingrove, a freestyle football coach who is working with the Premiership giants Tottenham Hotspur and has the luxury of working with some of the world greatest footballers such as Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, are all expected to arrive in town for the high-profiled event.

"We are happy to have all these people on board, to come and share their knowledge and experience with the people of The Gambia and help promote football and education," Stapleton said.

Let's not forget the international free style footballer Billy Wingrove - we are very happy to have him on board, Stapleton told this reporter shortly after his arrival at the Banjul International Airport.

During their stay in the country, 'Football Gambia' (FG) will engage in several activities, including football coaching courses, for free, to 'Grassroots Gambian Coaches'. This includes: FG Level 1 Football Coaching (from 60-70 coaches), FG Level 2 Football Coaching, (for Gambian Division 1 & 2 coaches x 30+) FG Level 1 Goalkeeper Coaching (for 60-70 coaches), FG Level 1 Freestyle Coaching (for 80-100 coaches) led by Billy Wingrove who is the holder of 3 Guinness world records. Billy has over 40 million hits on YouTube and is the only Football Freestylist to have a professional contract with a Premiership Club – Tottenham Hotspur.

Middlesex University will run an advanced Sports Leadership course, First Aid, Sports Massage Strapping and Rehabilitation course for 100-120 coaches (Details below).

Medical expert Abdoulie Cham will perform a series of presentations on tuberculosis (TB) to the coaches.

Aside from football activities, the team will engage in community works as well.

This will include painting a large community building in Marikissa and Paper & Plastic recycling building in Fajikunda.

FG has enlisted the support of a UK-based professional hairstylist to run a ‘Barbers Workshop’ for the male Gambian youths.  The ultimate goal is to set up a barbershop where Gambian hairstylists can work.

FG will run an ‘Art Academy’ to nurseries across The Gambia showing teachers how they can apply various art techniques to run fun lessons for the children.  This is also a great way for the children to learn and express themselves.

There are other mini-coaching projects going on as well with St. Albans City Youth FC, Middlesex University and Sutton Utd working with local schools and football academies in Lamin, Sifoe and Gunjur respectively.

While in The Gambia, the team will play 5 football matches in the evening in Brikama, Sittanunku, Gunjur, Lamin and Serekunda.

The excitement is already building around these games, which will attract large crowds. 

Commenting ahead of this big event, Yahya Manneh, Football Gambia's country's director, described the event as an important moment in Gambian football.

Manneh, who has been very busy preparing the grounds for the arrival of the delegation, urged all participants to take the training seriously.

The delegation was received on arrival by Kemo Ceesay, treasurer of The Gambia Football Association, to a tumultuous welcome.

Football Gambia has in the past organised high-profile coaching courses for the Gambian coaches and has also been donating quality football materials to academies and football teams around the country.