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GFA breaks silence

Sep 29, 2011, 12:30 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

After being silent for a very long time, the Gambia Football Association (GFA) have finally decided to take the bull by the horns and publicly react, for the first time, to what officials called misconceptions attributed to the  FA’s manner of handling the affairs of football in The Gambia.

The country’s football authorities yesterday convened a press conference at the GFA secretariat in Kanifing to respond to issues that continue to generate public debate in almost every corner of society.

Among them is GFA’s annual FIFA financial assistance or subvention (FAP), GFA’s FIFA goal project in Yundum,  grass roots football, and notably the GFA’s relationship with the country’s Youth and Sports ministry and the financial aspects of the management of the Gambia’s national football teams over the years.

Speaking to journalists at the press conference, Jammeh E. Bojang, secretary general of the GFA, who delivered a long speech touching on some of the issues, said in recent days, there has been a lot of talk around the country that the GFA is not efficient, something he (Jammeh) rubbished.

“We have heard that the GFA is not efficient, and we deemed it necessary to break the silence to tell the Gambian people what is happening.

“It is true that we have been silent for a very long time, but we were also listening and gathering evidence pertaining to some of the unfounded rumours about the GFA, and these things need to be clarified”, Jammeh told the assembled reporters.

He went on to give details of the successes registered by the Gambia Football Association, going way back to 2001.

He defended the football association, saying that when the GFA was entirely responsible for funding the national teams, there was never the problem of funds, as is now the case, since the ministry of Youth and Sports decided to take full ownership of the financing of the national teams, earlier in 2010.

Jammeh described as unfair some of the things being said about the GFA, and called for collective efforts in solving them constructively.

He made it clear that the financing of the national teams is no longer in the hands of the GFA, adding that it is now entirely the responsibility of the ministry of Youth and Sports which, he continued, has decided to take full ownership of the funding of all the national football teams, since last year.

However, this has caused a lot of problems between the GFA and the ministry of Sports, and has since led to speculation that the two parties are not in good terms, Jammeh went on.

The GFA SG refuted claims that they are not enjoying a cordial relationship with the ministry, but was quick to add that there has been a lot of misunderstanding between the two institutions, in relation to the funding of the national teams.

Recently, reports also indicated that the GFA has refused to meet with the taskforce committee set up by the ministry of Sports to look into the development of the national teams.

Jammeh denied the claim, announcing that the GFA was informed about a meeting, and requested for the taskforce committee to meet them at the country’s football house, but the taskforce committee members never turned up for the meeting, and have not stated any reason for their failure to honour the GFA’s invitation.

The GFA, in Jammeh’s view, has done a lot in Gambian football and, therefore, they should be given credit for taking Gambian football to a different level, rather that casting blame on them baselessly.

He added that the Gambia Football Association has done a lot, from November 1998 when the FA initiated a 10-year policy dubbed Catch Them Young, and has since witnessed tremendous successes at the young category and the Under-17 national team, in particular, as evident in winning two African U-17 championship titles in 2005 and 2009.

“To say the GFA is not efficient or Seedy Kinteh is not capable to run the affairs of the GFA is an insult to the GFA. If you know that Seedy is not efficient, why did the Gambian people allow him to be their president”, Jammeh asked.

About the FIFA annual subvention, this continues to be the subject of public debate, with speculation that the GFA is receiving one million US dollars every year as subvention.

However, the treasurer of the GFA, Kemo Ceesay, dismissed this claim, and announced that the FIFA gives annually a subvention to every member associations, which is D250, 000 dollars, and which he said is not intended for financing any national team or teams.

Pointsport will bring you more news on the press conference in tomorrow’s edition.