The Gambia National U-17 team yesterday paid a courtesy visit to their number one sponsor, Gamcel, the national GSM operator, at its head office in Kanifing.
The visit was part of their preparations for the 2011 African U-17 Championship to be hosted by Rwanda from 8 to 22 January 2011.
Speaking at the ceremony, Foday Ceesay, general manager of Gamcel, said he was the happiest man when the Gambia U-17 team won their final game of the qualifiers.
He added that the Under-17 have made the Gambia visible on the world map by lifting both the Under-17 tournament hosted in The Gambia in 2005 when they beat Ghana 1-0 in the final and the other in 2009 when they beat the host nation Algeria 3-1.
He commended the coaching staff of the Gambia U-17, who is working very hard to see to ensure the team succeed when go to Rwanda next year.
Ramou Nyass, the senior marketing manager at Gamcel,
congratulated the U-17 for qualifying to the tournament and prayed for them to succeed in Rwanda, noting that through sports a lot could be achieved in teams of development.
She urged the team to continue the hard work and said Gamcel is the only company in the country adopting and sponsoring a national team, "particularly the Under-17 who are always winning".
Kebba Masanneh Ceesay, technical director of the Gambia Football Association (GFA), who spoke on behalf of Seedy Kinteh, president of the GFA, said they are very much grateful to Gamcel.
He said they have been preparing for a serious training camp in Egypt, since they have the biggest task as the U-17 defending champions.
"We will never fail you Gamcel/Gamtel," he said, adding that by God's grace the team will bring the trophy to The Gambia and hand it to the President of the Republic of The Gambia.
Gamcel/Gamtel are doing very well in Gambian football, Lamin Sambou, the head coach of the Gambia U-17 team, says, adding that he hoped the relationship would continue forever.
The team, he promised, will deliver to expectations at the tournament.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Momodou L. Jatta, senior manager of marketing (Gamtel), Abdou Karim Sey, an executive member of the GFA; Buba "Melez" Jallow, captain of the Under-17 team.