#Article (Archive)

Gambia Basketball Executive resign

Nov 4, 2019, 1:22 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Executive members of The Gambia Basketball Association on 31 October 2019 tendered their resignations from the association.

The resignation letter signed by Momodou Cherno Ndure, acting president, Mama Jend, 2nd vice president, Abdoulie Jallow, secretary general, Yassin Joof-Jow, treasurer, Augustus Prom Jr, auditor and Ousman Conateh, member was copied to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Youth &Sports, President Gambia National Olympic Committee, President, FIBA AFRICA, President, Zone 2 & Vice President FIBA Africa, Chairman National Sports Council as well as media houses.

The undersigned executive expressed deepest sadness in tender their resignation, saying their primary objective was to help Gambian basketball with genuine intent and purpose but unfortunately that did not receive the required level of support or appreciation leaving them with no choice but to take this action.

Below is the full text of the resignation letter which reads:

Prior to the current executive taking office, basketball was not played competitively for over a decade in The Gambia. Since 2012, we revamped the game of basketball in the Gambia with vigour, energy and vitality ensuring league games are played every year all through to August 2018. 

With the exception of Football and Athletics, Basketball pays out the highest price money to winners. All this was achieved without any gate collections. That said our individual efforts and initiatives lead to a partnership with Africell which included the renovation of the stadium facility which should have otherwise been done through Government intervention.

Furthermore we have been able to licence all our members as at the beginning of 2018 season. This has stopped the violation of FIBA regulations when it comes to players from other countries especially Senegal playing in two leagues.  It is also during this period that some of our coaches were able to set up Academies and most importantly we are proud to have introduced 3x3 Basketball in The Gambia. Since its introduction, the Gambia has played in high level competitions in Africa (male and female) and in the 2019 African Games our female team reached the quarter finals for the first time. 

The GBA Executive in February 2019 responded to allegations made by Coaches of some basketball clubs on 17th December 2018 to the National Sports Council. Some of these allegations included inter alia:

          The violations of the GBA 2012 Constitution and that the executive has intentionally failed to abide by some of its provisions but instead use specific articles at their advantage to run the Association;

          That the Constitution was conspicuously signed by the Secretary General (SG) alone;

         The Constitution is due for review since 01/12/17;

          Not holding 2017 and 2018 AGM

          That the GBA is being monopolised by the Secretary General. He is the Only Executive committee member that attends meetings with coaches Stakeholders;

          The GBA Secretary General mentioned on West Coast Radio and in a letter to the Basketball Club Managers Committee that the GBA Constitution does not recognise the Basketball Club Managers Committee otherwise called the Coaches association;

          To discuss the status of one of the referees of our tournament whose attitude has been a concern;

          That they strongly believe that Basketball Club Managers Committee in order words coaches Association is legal and recognised by the GBA constitution Article 24.

Our Executive adequately responded to each of the allegations and provided documentary evidence to support our responses. The Coaches failed to indicate which provisions of the constitution the executive was using to its advantage.  It is ironic however that almost all of the coaches were not in basketball administration in 2012 to claim that the constitution was conspicuously signed by the Secretary General. Furthermore, their clubs have elected an executive in 2016 using the same constitution they claim to have been conspicuously signed.  On the review of the constitution, it is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to propose amendments of the constitution.  We would like to state that none of the stakeholders until now made any attempt to communicate or propose amendments to the constitution.

The allegation that the SG monopolised the GBA was also addressed.  All decisions of the executive are conveyed to the membership by the SG.  The minutes provided to the NSC has shown the records of GBA meetings as and when held. The Secretary General has never taken any action that requires executive decision and we reiterate that the Secretary General has never taken any unilateral decision thus the allegations are unfounded and baseless.  It is unfortunate that the coaches misconstrued the communication of executive decisions as the decisions of the SG.

On the issue of the setting up of their Basketball Club Managers Committee, the current constitution has not made provision for the formation of a coaches or club managers committee. Their membership included unlicensed GBA members and contrary to the NSC Policy their president is not a Gambian.  On these bases the executive decided not to recognise the group. It is therefore the prerogative of the President under the GBA constitution to co-opt a representative of a properly constituted coaches association.  We are willing to share the full text of our responses to any interested person or media outlet for their perusal. 

During this process, our executive responded to invitations to meetings at both the National Sports Council and the Minister of Youth and Sports. We met with the minister at least on three different occasions at his office in the presence of the NSC and his team (PS and DPS) and also at the NSC at least 3 times to deal with this lingering issue. The meetings unfortunately in our view failed to provide any solution to the Basketball saga in the country. The only outcome after our responses was a letter from The NSC to hold our 2017 AGM.

Our executive called for the AGM and it was called off by the NSC in the last hour.  We rescheduled after being given the green light by the NSC but no official from the NSC showed up. Some of the coaches came to the meeting with both current and expelled players. There was also unregistered member of the GBA with delegate card who we refused entry. 

It is ironic however that the NSC blames the Secretary General for not allowing a non-member of our association without any letter of proxy to enter our meeting. The NSC further went to insinuate that the Secretary General did not allow Brikama Sports Committee representative into the meeting.

We want to make it clear that the GBA has membership and AGM’s are for members only or proxies of members. Brikama Sports Committee has never been registered as owner of the Basketball team.  The letter of the sports Council implies that sponsors can represent the clubs they sponsor. It was for the reasons that our Executive decided to cancel the AGM. 

The GBA Executive has provided the entire database of our membership to the NSC to ensure that only members of our association are being dealt with. It is however disappointing that the SG is being blamed by the NSC for disallowing non-members into our AGM the issues surrounding the cancellation and not taking responsibility for failing to attend this important function. Perhaps if they had attended as expected the issue of AGM would have been resolved by now. The Sports Council by its letter has taken a decision to take over the management of the Association’s AGM contrary to its mandate under the Sports Council Act.  The Mandate of the Sports Council is very clear even where they found an association wanting.  We hope they would revisit the Act and work accordingly.

We are disappointed that two important issues that came up during this saga has received no attention by either the NSC and the Minister.  We have reported in our response to the NSC that there is suspected age cheating (i.e. reducing of age) by three players that went to Spain which the executive decided not to sign any transfer for them.  Two of them have reduced age and the other was never registered. We refused to be part of this dishonest conduct and raise more questions than answers.  It is unfortunate that the minister is more worried of the possible change of Nationality of these boys than the wrong committed.  Our executive was accused at the office of the minister by one of the coaches of helping foreigners acquire Gambian Passports. We challenged anyone to proof such allegations and we are within our rights to demand proof. We want to make it clear that each member of our executive has a legal right to defend him or herself against libel/slander and these options are being reviewed. 

The executive gave the benefit of the doubt that the NSC and the Ministry would have ensured that truth prevails.  However, we have concluded that lies, deceit and libellous attack on the executive especially the Secretary General has so far gone unnoticed. There is no doubt that change always comes with resistance, however any resistance should be based on truth. There has been a lot of social media attacks which we are studying and were our rights are violated we individually have the right to seek redress.

We the undersigned executive with a collective experience in excess of over 100 years in Gambian basketball both as player, coach manager and now executive tender our resignation with the deepest sadness. Our primary objective was to help Gambian basketball with genuine intent and purpose. Unfortunately that did not receive the required level of support or appreciation leaving us with no choice but to take this action.

Finally, we would work on the accounts from the statement earlier provided to date. In addition we would provide a list of any asset or items to be handed over to your office within the 14 working days.