Sep 8, 2014, 9:33 AM
President Yahya Jammeh has denounced the acts of hooliganism in sport in general, and football and wrestling in particular, warning that such must stop or drastic action will follow.
‘There is no way we can allow wrestling to be overtaken by hooliganism in this country, it has never been a violent sport and it will never be a violent sport. So this face of hooliganism must end or drastic action will be taken,’ Jammeh said.
The Gambian leader was speaking yesterday at State House when he received committee members of last year’s SOS children’s village wrestling championship, and the 2013 school athletics organising committee, who were at State House to present to him winners of both championships.
‘That also applies to football; I have seen nowadays that the slightest problem in football ends up in violence; I am going to set a nasty example on that,’ he said, adding that he will not accept hooliganism in sport under whatever pretext or in whatever form.
‘So if wrestling is going to be a traditional cultural sport, we must not change the rules; what we have in The Gambia is free-style wrestling, and it is only in this way that people can see talents,’ President Jammeh stated.
According to him, wrestling is very entertaining, but it should not have anything to do with hooliganism.
‘We are not going to allow imported indiscipline in this country; we don’t know violence in wrestling and so anybody who want to organize wrestling should make sure that the wrestlers and the different groups understand that this is a competition, where one is bound to win and, that being the case, there is no room for violence; supporters have to behave or otherwise face the full force of the law,’ Jammeh added.
While lauding the move to organize such championships, the Gambian leader commended parents and teachers, without whose support, it would not have been possible.
President Jammeh called on Gambians to maintain our characteristic way of wresting, stressing that there is no way he would allow ‘boreh dorr’ wrestling with punching because it is very violent, and not our wrestling style.
‘We have to preserve our indigenous way of wrestling, and that is the way it is going to be. Wrestling builds self confidence; so I wonder why it has not been part of the school sporting event, it boosts somebody’s morale, it boosts somebody’s confidence and I think this is one sport that must be integrated into our educational sporting events,’ he noted.
Other speakers at the meeting included several cabinet ministers, and Ms Omou Taal, national director of the SOS Village in The Gambia.
The meeting, chaired by Fatou Lamin Faye, minister of Basic and Secondary Education, saw President Jammeh present cash prizes to all the winners.