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New committee to run GFF

May 8, 2014, 9:31 AM | Article By: Lamin Darboe

The minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, citing powers vested on him by the National Sports Council (NSC) Act yesterday unveiled a five-member committee to run the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) and football in the country.

The new committee members are Lamin Sanneh permanent secretary at the ministry of Lands and former governor West Coast Region, Ba Jabbi, Famara Colley, Haddy Sillah and Malick Mbye.

The new committee will replace top officials of the GFF executive namely, GFF president Mustapha Kebbeh, first vice president Buba Star Janneh, second vice president Kebba K. Touray and third vice president Basirou Bajor.

Sports minister Jammeh announced their “suspension” at a press conference held Wednesday at the conference room of the Independence Stadium in Bakau.

The minister announced that the four GFF officials were replaced for failing to fulfill their duties and obligations.They were elected as members of the GFF executive on 31st July 2013.

The new committee will operate from the GFF office at Football House. It will continue with the current GFF leagues, and “should try and find sponsorship for the leagues,” the minister further stated.

The Sports minister’s move was expected, and came following the suspension of the GFF for two years from all CAF competitions. This decision was announced by the executive committee of the Confederation of African Committee (CAF) recently.

The GFF, it would be recalled, registered the Gambia national football Under-20 team for participation in the preliminary qualification rounds of the CAF U-20 Championship. Called the African Youth Championship, it will be hosted by Senegal in March 2015.

The Gambia was paired to play against Liberia, at home and away, and the winner will proceed to the next round of the qualifiers.

The first leg of their match was played in Monrovia, on 6 April, which the Gambia won 1-nil. The second match was scheduled for the week-end of 26-27 April in Banjul.

However, Liberia’ football association appealed to CAF claiming that the Gambia football federation fielded age-ineligible players in the Monrovia match.

CAF investigated, and the organizing committee for the U-20 competition ruled that five Gambian players were not eligible to participate in the competition.

The U-20 competition is only for players born on or after 1 January 1995, as stated in a CAF circular dated 2 September 2013 and sent to the GFF. The five Gambian footballers were all born in 1994, according to their passports.

The Gambia was consequently disqualified from further participation in the U-20 competition. Going by the regulations of the African U-20 championship, further sanctions were expected to follow, such as the two-year suspension from all CAF competitions for deliberate “cheating”.

Meanwhile, after CAF announced Gambia’s disqualification from further participation in the U-20 football competition, the National Sports Council, NSC, set up an “investigative task force”.

It was asked to establish what went wrong, and who was responsible for the unfortunate disqualification of the Gambia U-20 from the CAF U-20 championship 2015; to suggest corrective measures; and, to provide a report within a week.

The task force was set up on 21 April 2014, and held its sittings at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. It invited and interviewed 10 officials, including the second vice president of the GFF, Kebba Touray, GFF secretary general Abass Bah, GFF technical director Ebrima Manneh, and Baboucarr Jobe the GFF administrative secretary.

The report of the investigative task force stated that Peter Bonu Johnson the senior national team coach, and Saihou Bah U-20 team manager “failed to appear before the task force.”

The task force on April 29 submitted its report to the executive director of the National Sports Council, in which it made a number of recommendations.

It recommended that the executive of the GFF be asked “to honourably resign for failing and embarrassing the nation and losing public trust.”

“In the event the executive fails to resign honourably, the National Sports Council (NSC) should advise government on the way forward,” the task force added.

The five-member task force also recommended that the U-20 team manager “who failed to attend the interview (with the task force),” the GFF technical director, as well as the administrative secretary of the GFF “be relieved of their duties”.

“In future, the NSC and the GFF need to jointly and meticulously examine all technical matters to advise each other adequately,” the task force further recommended.

The members of the task force were Malang Jassy deputy permanent secretary at the ministry of Youth and Sports in Banjul, Lamin Kling Colley chairman of the National Sports Council, Pa Suwareh Faye deputy director of planning at the Sports ministry, Marcel Mendy deputy executive director NSC, and Ebou Faye general manager of theIndependence Stadium and Friendship Hotel.