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GFF officials finally break silence on meeting with CAF

Jul 3, 2014, 9:59 AM

Members of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) delegation lead by president Mustapha Kebbeh, who have been tight-lipped on the outcome of the meeting with FIFA and CAF officials, since their return from Brazil, have finally issued a media release, a day after the Ministry of Youth and Sports issued a press release disclosing the outcome of the meeting.

For the benefit of our readers we publish below the full text of the release sent to Pointsports by Bakary B Baldeh, GFF publicity and marketing officer:

Based on the genuine desire of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) and football stakeholders, a team from the GFF which travelled to Brazil in June for the 64th FIFA Congress which also culminated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has earlier returned home.

Working for the development of football, the GFF delegation also facilitated the travel arrangements of the Gambia’s ministerial delegation headed by Hon Alieu K Jammeh, whose online visa application was processed by the GFF to enable him travel to the global convergence of football leaders in Brazil, which accorded both the GFF and MOYS to discuss with CAF on The Gambia’s suspension from all categories of continental football.

In Brazil, the GFF officials received the MOYS delegation and formally introduced them to the various FIFA and CAF officials, on the fringes of the FIFA Congress where the GFF President Mustapha Kebbeh through his efforts invited the Minister of Youth and Sports Alieu K Jammeh to be part of his meeting with CAF President Issa Hayatou, where The Gambia’s situation was being discussed.

At this meeting, all the facts were presented to CAF and shown to Issa Hayatou, who assured Gambian officials of his utmost desire to help the Smiling Coast out of the two year continental suspension.

The general public is further informed that after presenting all the facts to CAF, the body believed that the case was an administrative data entry error that occurred in 2012 where a typographical error was made by the GFA Secretariat when entering the data of player Ali Sowe (a player of Gamtel FC) in 2012 for CAF Orange Confederation Cup Competition.

During the meeting, it was therefore accepted that The Gambia did not in any way deliberately falsify any age of players. Mr Hayatou, however, advised the Gambian officials on the appropriate steps to follow as a sequence to the possible lifting of the suspension, which the GFF is continuously working on.

Hayatou promised to look into The Gambia’s situation after meeting with his Executive Committee for the lifting of the Gambia’s suspension.

Mr Hayatou during the meeting told the Hon MOYS that he has earlier met with the GFF President, and has assured him of the desire to help Gambia out of the sanctions. At this juncture, President Hayatou reminded the meeting that the Gambia’s current football situation was based on historical facts in the past that the Gambia has been alleged to have used over-age players.

The GFF therefore is assuring the football stakeholders that the Gambia Football Federation is part of the global football family and continues to enjoy the co-operation and support of world football’s governing body, FIFA.

This co-operation is a clear testimony to the recent financial assistance approved for the Gambia Football Federation by FIFA estimated at D30,000000 andgeared towards football development programme in The Gambia, in addition to the previous funding approved. This funding was negotiated by President Mustapha Kebbeh during his earlier meeting with FIFA in South Africa.

The GFF is also closely working with CAF and they have asked the Gambia Football Federation to submit a funding request for approval to the tune of D6,000,000 geared towards football development, and CAF continues to provide a technical assistance programme to The Gambia. All these signify that The Gambia is still a recognised partner in continental and world football programmes.

Based on the appropriate steps forwarded above to CAF and cognizant of its crucial role in football development in The Gambia, the GFF is positively hopeful that the sanction would be lifted as strongly promised by CAF and personally supported by CAF President Issa Hayatou. The CAF supremo thanked Mustapha Kebbeh for his genuine interest in Gambia’s football advancement, and further advised him to continue the love he has for African football.

We the GFF, therefore, continue to solicit the support and prayers of the general public for our genuine desire to lift the suspension. We, however, appreciate the support and collaboration of the Ministry of Youth and Sports during this period. We extend endless congratulations and appreciations to His Excellency the President Sheikh Prof Dr Alh Yahya AJJ Jammeh and his government for all the moral, financial and other provisional support geared towards the advancement of Gambian football.

Bakary B Baldeh

Publicity/Marketing Officer