Aug 12, 2009, 7:07 AM
The Academy, named after a football club in the Netherlands through the effort of the manager of Gambia Sport Foundation (GSF), Yankuba Vermeulen, was formed since 2000 to promote football talents of young Gambians.
Speaking at the ceremony, GSF manager Yankuba Vermeulen described the day as historic and paramount, saying promoting the young grassroots football talents is commendable.
“The GSF would continue supporting the Academy with all the necessary sporting gears to boost the welfare of the children,’’ he said.
The Gambia, according to him, is blessed with a lot of young grassroots talents who if supported would excel in the game before they grow up and take up the professional career.
He further encouraged parents to send in their kids to register with the Academy as the ages required are between 9 and 17.
Modou Bojang, Alkalo of Farato Bojang Kunda, told the gathering that the day needs celebration noting that the talents shown by the kids is a clear indication that the Academy is going from strength to strength.
‘’I am urging the people of the village to take great care of the Academy and promote unity, oneness, stability in order for the kids to benefit a lot from the Gambia Sport Foundation (GSF),” he said.
Equally, my special advice goes to the youth to take their football career with more seriousness if they want to become responsible professionals.
Ebrima Jaiteh, the admin and financial controller, said the Academy started with just a small number of kids, but “today thank God, we have a lot of kids who are attending the Academy”.
He underscored the importance for the parents and other stakeholders to continue promoting the already existing relationship with them.
‘’Today our sincere gratitude goes out to Sambujang Jaiteh the pioneer, who was a former footballer and after attending a 2 monthAcademy Training course at the Independence Stadium under the tutelage of Sang Ndong a former Gambian International,” he said.
He alsostressed that, they skilled the childrenabout discipline and the importance of education emphasizing that the Academy started playing with Rubber Balls and Wembley Balls but today thanks to the intervention of the GSF under the leadership of Yankuba Vermeulenthey have had bountiful of balls and jerseys and other sporting gears to train with.
The registration fee per child is pegged at D105 out of which D5 is for the registration and the D100 for an ID Card.
Some of the graduated players from the OJC Academy are Alieu Jatta now playing in Dakar, Bala Musa Sarjo playing in Germany and the recent Brikama Naweetan best player Lamin Sibi, who is playing for Bombada FC a first division club in The Gambia.
It would be recalled that the Academy started as Gikok, then to Gifts, Biri-Biri until recently to OJC Academy the Gambia. In attendance at the function were women and a cross-section of the villagers and other invited guests.