Jan 20, 2015, 10:25 AM
Even before the football fraternity was able to digest the results of the mid-week CAN qualifiers in which visitors Algeria stunned Gambia with a 2-1 win, the nation was greeted with the breaking news that the football association has been dissolved.
The news, as usual, was received with mixed reactions by the public.
Yet, while critics of the GFA welcomed the move, others and this includes well-meaning football followers, wondered what might be the possible implications, especially knowing that FIFA does not tolerate government’s interfering in football matters.
Though the Sports minister hinted at wide consultations before the move, without giving specific explanations, it is common knowledge that such moves are always frowned upon by FIFA, no matter which nation, big or small, is involved.
While we hope that the minster must have done his home work very well before taking this bold decision, we hasten to further state that the costs of any sanctions by FIFA could be very high.
For instance, the annual FIFA subvention, the multiple FIFA Goal projects and our current international engagements could all be possible casualties in the event of a suspension.
To forestall this gloomy situation, perhaps the minister should have engaged the GFA executive in a frank discussion, and persuade them to resign in the interest of football.
Then organize an emergency GFA congress, to elect a new executive, as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, football analysts believe that the constitution of the GFA should be reviewed, and brought in line with FIFA by allowing only clubs to elect their officers, as it is the case in all countries.
This would provide the basis for a true, transparent election of officers and prevent anyone from using other means to cling on to power.
In any case, for us to achieve total success in football, the Gambia government should invest more, in terms of finance and training, in the management of sports, football in particular, which is the most popular game in The Gambia.
Football is no longer a leisure game, but a worthwhile investment whose dividends include promoting the international image of the country.
For example, clubs which represent the Gambia every year in international competitions should be allocated funds to prepare well for their international matches, as many African countries are doing, since they are representing the nation.
The national team should have a long term programme financed by government, for the adequate preparation of the team. It is also good to hire a coach with a high caliber, to train our coaches.
The ministry should make good use of veteran sportsmen to be PE teachers in schools. Football should be promoted from the grassroots; in the nursery school, primary and secondary schools.
During the time of Father Gough in the 80s, a lot of talents were discovered in the schools, not only in football but other disciplines. That trend should be continued.
There should be annual secondary schools competitions, as before.
The ministry of Youth and Sports should work for a sponsorship of sports in The Gambia by the business community, which should receive incentives in the form of tax reductions, when they give to sports.
Finally, we hope and pray that a new GFA executive committee will be elected soon, to redress the current situation.
“Neither situations nor people can be altered by the interference of an outsider. If they are to be altered, that alteration must come from within.”