Oct 17, 2008, 5:55 AM
A weeklong Beach Soccer Coaching Course organised by the Gambia Football Association (GFA), in partnership with Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), for the first time in The Gambia yesterday kicked off at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
The course brought together 27 participants drawn from ten sporting zones in the Greater Banjul Area, Beach Soccer Committee and coaches from the regions.
Jammeh E.K. Bojang, GFA secretary general, speaking at the opening ceremony of the course on behalf of GFA president Seedy M.B. Kinteh, said he was deeply honoured to preside over the opening of the first FIFA Beach Soccer Coaching Course in The Gambia.
Jammeh also welcomed the FIFA Course Director Gustavo Zloccowick from Brazil to The Gambia, adding that they were appreciative of his coming and his commitment as well as his dedication to football, especially Beach Soccer.
"Football over the years has recorded a substantial and tangible progress largely due to dedicated volunteers like you (Gustavo Zloccowick) and this training programme is a clear demonstration of our commitment in building a better future for Beach Soccer in the Gambia," he said.
"The Gambia like many African countries is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches with skilful and enthusiastic players with positive attitude, who are ever ready to play Beach Soccer so that they can represent their country in future international competitions as well as to help establish a Beach Soccer League in the country."
Jammeh added that the GFA is committed to the holistic development of football in the country, noting: "This training is part of our decentralisation process to bring football to the doorstep of every Gambian."
The GFA president also described the training programme as "crucial to the promotion and development of Beach Soccer in the country" as this is the first of its kind, urging the participants to do everything possible to make "this special event hugely successful".
He also used the platform to urge the participants to be ready to share the knowledge and experience gained from the workshop with the wider community while challenging them to take great advantage of the scholarly environment as well as ensure the training programme paves the way for the establishment of Beach Soccer league in The Gambia by 2012.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sheriff Gomez, the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ms Anna Jobe, said she was pleased about the programme and thankful to the GFA for this laudable initiative aimed at showcasing Beach Soccer in the country and to help build clubs, organise league and other competitions and tournaments as well as to form national Beach Soccer teams for local, regional, national and international tournaments.
Ms Jobe stated that she is convinced that the GFA will put in place proper Beach Soccer Education Programmes which would involve all the stakeholders, suck as the clubs, kids, amateurs, women, schools, beach boys local communities, public authorities, the private sector and the media.
She stated that she was very much happy to have had the opportunity to play a part in this "dream event" and encouraged the participants to make maximum use of "this golden and career enhancing training programme".
Ms Jobe concluded by urging the GFA to train referees on the key elements of the game, such as laws of the game, the rules, and regulations governing Beach Soccer.
She added: "With better coaches and referees, the Beach Soccer tournaments in The Gambia will enjoy a boost in quality that can make us qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer tournaments in the near future."
Course Director Gustavo Zloccowick and Abdou Salaam Jammeh, assistant secretary general of the GFA, also expressed sentiments similar to those of previous speakers.
Salaam, who also doubles as the development officer of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), chaired the ceremony.