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GFF reacts to ‘false start to female football story’

Jan 29, 2014, 9:57 AM | Article By: Lamin Cham

The Gambia Football Federation, GFF, yesterday sent a press release re-acting to The Point newspaper’s story, which reported that the cancellation of the Gambia-Guinea Bissau female friendly match as a “false start” to the female football team’s programme.

The federation called the article speculative and misleading, but renewed its apology to the public for the cancellation, and explained the circumstances leading to it.

Below we reproduce the full release from the GFF:

“The Gambia Football Federation is pleased to extend its gratitude to the general public for their support and patronage during the just-concluded women football match. The GFF also wishes to extend the apology of their sister association - Bissau Guinea Football Federation - for not being able to make it to The Gambia as originally planned.

“According to the message from the Football Federation President of Guinea Bissau conveyed through the President of GFF, “We sincerely apologize to the GFF and the entire Gambian public for our failure to play in Banjul as we requested, this Mr. President, was due to unavoidable circumstances beyond our control”, said President Masimento.

“It would be recalled that Guinea Bissau Football Federation requested for the friendly international match as part of their preparation for their match against Senegal in the qualifier for the Africa Women Championship. GFF and their Bissau counterpart concluded the arrangements for The Gambia to host the friendly football match, only for Bissau not being able to make the Banjul trip due to unforeseen circumstances as indicated by the President of Bissau Guinea Football Federation. This news was communicated to the GFF authorities on Friday night when virtually all the pre-match arrangements were finalized in line with international standards.

“Nonetheless, the GFF made swift logistical arrangements to continue and play an exhibition match between our Women Scorpions and their counterparts from the Super Nawettan Selection as a substitute for the Bissau friendly match. This was done in order to keep the high spirit generated by the Gambian Girls and to avoid dampening their zeal.

“It is worth noting that the match was watched by an impressive crowd of people to the pleasure of the Organizing Committee as people came from far and near the West Coast Region and its environs to cheer up the girls. This was crowned up by the top VIP attendance and the presence of the GFF Executive and its Secretariat Staff.

“However, to the dismay of the GFF, The Point Newspaper headline carried the story negatively in their Monday 27th January 2014 publication as ‘False Start to GFF Friendly for Female Team’. The content of this article is nothing but mere speculation as the views expressed in the article are contrary to the reality on the ground. The GFF recognizes and upholds the spirit of objective and constructive criticism geared towards the development of football, but dismisses misleading and baseless stories meant to misinform the general public.

“The media is a very critical partner in the development of football and should, therefore, always endeavour to maintain balanced reporting rooted in facts and not just to speculate, especially when the officials of GFF are always available to shed light on issues regarding football in The Gambia.

“We call on all genuine Gambians to continue to support the GFF development agenda for both men and women’s football. We take this opportunity to thank all media establishments for the extensive publicity and coverage of the match, and reassure them of our undivided commitment to building a much closer relationship with them.

“Finally, the GFF takes this opportunity to thank the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the support and encouragement given to the Football Federation. ‘Our gratitude is also extended to His Excellency the President Sheikh Prof Dr Alh Yahya AJJ Jammeh for his personal contribution and support and by extension creating the enabling environment for us to operate’, GFF President Mustapha Kebbeh said.

While thanking you for the co-operation and understanding, do accept our highest sporting felicitation.

Bakary B Baldeh, Media Officer