May 27, 2015, 11:29 AM
Tombong Saidy, Chairman of Gambia For Gold, in his handing-over remarks, recalled the genesis of the project, saying that when the President of the Republic of The Gambia received the FIFA World Cup at State House in February 2010 during the World Cup Tour, he challenged all Gambians to bring the World Cup to The Gambia.
He said that was a venture that cannot be financed by Government alone or the GFA; therefore the Ministry of Youth and Sports, lead by Hon. Sheriff Gomez, set up a fundraising drive called the Gambia For Gold “It’s our time” 2012-2014 to raise the required funds over a period of 4 years to finance the activities of the Senior National Team in particular, the U-17 and U-20 National Teams in general.
Mr Saidy thanked the President for laying the foundation and creating the enabling environment that permitted such a laudable fundraising venture to be possible and successful.
He also thanked former Youth and Sports Minister Sheriff Gomez for having the vision to create Gambia For Gold.
He went on to thank Alieu K. Jammeh, Minister of MoYS, and also Gambia For Gold committee members.
He said the then Gambia Football Association came up with a minimum budget cost of D32 million for the preparation of the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup over a period of 4 years, adding that Gambia For Gold took its clue from this to set a target of raising at least D32 million.
Gambia For Gold could not raise the target sum but with the help of partners and other sponsors D19, 950, 646.00 was secured and raised, he also said.
The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) will inherit six million four hundred and forty-two thousand eight hundred and eight dalasi (D6, 442, 808) from Gambia For Gold partners, sponsors and others within the year 2014, Tombong Saidy, chairman Gambia For Gold said.
The money will be paid in installments by partners and others to the GFF during the year 2014, he added.
In conclusion, Mr Saidy said: “The Gambia Football Federation should endeavour to nurture the contracts and try by all means to satisfy the conditions of the contracts.
“There are still some out there that could be tapped into to help finance the activities of the Federation.
“The funds raised by Gambia For Gold are strictly to be used for international matches and national teams-related activities only. This was the sole purpose these funds were raised for and should be used for such.”
On behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Partners of Gambia For Gold and all who ever served as committee members, the staff and on his own behalf as Chairman Gambia For Gold, he wished the Gambia Football Federation a successful and fruitful tenure.
Buba ‘Star’ Janneh, First Vice President who doubles as the spokesperson of the Gambia Football Federation, described the initiative of Gambia For Gold as good, adding that it had “developed our football”.
He therefore thanked the initiators, saying they would build on the initiative to even develop the game further in the country.
“Football is a very expensive enterprise,” he stated, saying they would work harder to achieve their desired objectives.
He pointed out that they would work with existing partners and probably extend the arrangement to ensure they achieve their goals, which is for the Gambia to qualify for the World Cup.
He remarked that they would work closely with the National Sports Council, and Gambians who have the idea to achieve their aims, while calling on everyone to put hands on deck.
Alieu K. Jammeh, Minister of Youth and Sports, said he was honoured and happy to witness what he described as an important ceremony.
He said the funding of football is very expensive and Government alone cannot do it all without the support of partners, which is why the initiative of Gambia For Gold was conceived in 2010.
“Government will always continue to provide funds to move the game forward,” he highlighted, but was quick to add that Government gives funds but are never enough, and therefore thanked the initiators, partners and also Gambia For Gold.
Minister Jammeh called on fans to sacrifice for the country in contributing their quota to perfect football in the country in order to compete at the highest standards, saying “Government has fulfilled its part to the core”.
He remarked that with only finance and without infrastructure, proper functioning league and the technical knowhow the game cannot move forward, although money has been pumped into the game over the years.
“You cannot, in all honesty, find a decent infrastructure in the country,” he pointed out, saying: “If you want to compete with top countries you need to have good structures in place. We cannot afford playing football just for three or four months and sitting the rest of the year.”
Talking about the restructuring of the league, he said the structure has been there for decades and had not produced any positive results.
He also challenged authorities not to be bias in selecting the people in charge of the technical department of the nation’s football.
“There is more to be done if we want to move our football forward,” he concluded.
Pa Alieu Ndow, GTBank Group Head of Admin and Corporate Communications, speaking on behalf of Gambia For Gold partners, said that although they are three years into the period, they have no regretted associating themselves with Gambia For Gold.
He described the relationship within the 3-year period as fruitful and mutually beneficial, saying Gambia For Gold has always fulfilled their side of the bargain even more than what they actually bargained for.
Mr Ndow, on behalf of the Management and staff of GTBank and other co-partners, reiterated their commitment to the cause of promoting Gambian sport in general and Gambian football in particular.
In conclusion, he bade farewell to the outgoing members of Gambia For Gold and thanked them for the efforts made in promoting and ensuring the country’s national teams participate in international competitions.
At the same time he welcomed the incoming members of the Gambia Football Federation and wished them well in their new responsibilities and reassured them of continuous support.
Malang Jasseh, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Minister of Youth and Sports, chaired the handing-over ceremony at which Sulayman Bun Njie, Chairman of the National Sports Council, also spoke.