Apr 3, 2012, 1:11 PM
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Sheriff M.L. Gomez, on behalf of the Vice President of The Gambia, Madam Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, yesterday presided over the opening of a three-day seminar on women’s football at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The high-profile FIFA Com-Unity seminar on women's football is intended to improve cooperation and communication between the associations, its government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) represented in the country, the media and other partners in the field of marketing.
The Youth and Sports Minister, who delivered a statement on behalf of the country’s number two, told the gathering that the smiling coast of Africa "is very much proud" to host the stakeholders' seminar on Women's Football.
Gomez, who commended the Gambia Football Association and FIFA for their utmost dedication to the development of football in The Gambia, used the occasion to welcome all present, especially the FIFA delegation from Ivory Coast, Norway and Namibia.
"I am extremely delighted to be present in this seminar today and special thanks go to the President of FIFA, Mr Joseph Sepp Blatter and Mr Sampon Kablan, FIFA development officer, for their love and support to the Gambia Football Association and, by extension, The Gambia as a country," the minister said.
The seminar, according to Hon. Gomez, marked a new phase in the development and promotion of women's football in The Gambia.
He also commended the Gambia government under the leadership of President Jammeh for their role in the rapid sports development over the years, particularly football.
“The Government of The Gambia is highly committed and steadfast in ensuring that sport is central to its national development agenda,” Gomez told the gathering.
The President of the GFA, Seedy Kinteh, used the occasion to thank and appreciate the Gambian leader, President Jammeh, for his support and personal contribution to all categories of The Gambia’s national teams and for creating a football youth and sports friendly environment.
Kinteh is however of the belief that the Banjul seminar on women’s football would create awareness on the values of women’s football within the government, the NGOS and partners, the media, the business community, and the sport fraternity.
The FIFA development officer at the seminar, Sampon Kablan, who has taken part in a series of FIFA developmental programmes in The Gambia over the years, said the seminar also aims at sharing knowledge on communication and marketing skills to help member associations attract partners and sponsors.
"As FIFA development officer, I brought with me special greetings from Sepp Blatter to President Jammeh for his support to the Gambia Football Association and to encourage him to keep up the momentum of the economic and social transformation of The Gambia," Kablan said.
In attendance at the seminar was Madam Heidy Store, FIFA ambassador on Women's Football, who disclosed to the gathering that more than 30 million girls play football.
Heidy also joined a host of other speakers to urge women to take up football seriously and said the seminar “will no doubt create the platform” for more girls to play football.