Jun 12, 2009, 7:26 AM
Lamin: I know of your humility however that would not stop me from asking you this question. You have a magnificent track record in Gambian sport, one that not many can equal. Some of the people that have read our series in the past think you should be in the Gambian Hall of Fame, your thoughts.
TMC: Humbling indeed but I am not interested in individual recognitions. If you remember the first time you met me in 1983, you said to me and I quote, ‘Young Tijan, you are my inspiration and one day, I want to be just like you.’ This was at the Latrikunda School grounds after a game in which I assisted Saul Njie at the Youth Week held in Serrekunda.
If I was able to inspire one of Gambia’s best sports journalists, then that’s an appropriate Hall of Fame!
The young teams I provide with uniforms in Fourahbay, Freetown, to ensure they have something else to do, that’s my Hall of Fame, simply put, the people are my Hall of Fame!
I think the people that should really be in any Hall of fame are Saul Njie and Pap Saine; their contribution as journalists to Gambian sports is just beyond enormous and I think they should be honoured; besides, they were my inspiration and they are very deserving of that honor, not me. I have not done anything in sports, just was another kid who loved sports and tried to bring in a little I could.
Lamin: You do follow Gambian sports, what is your take on the current GNOC impasse?
TMC: You mean another one! A total disgrace. Sports is an avenue to bring people together and not to create division if I may quote the Olympic charter: “The goal of Olympics is to place sports at the service of harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
I do believe the Olympic spirit should prevail and the development of sports put before anything else. What I say here does not matter anyway, I care less who leads the GNOC, but I do care about a whole sports family being held hostage and that is crappy to say the least.
I have had the opportunity to work with the incumbent many years ago and I have over and over called him the best Secretary General ever for Football and I still believe that.
Lamin: Tell me about the popular Gambian Soccer Forum on Facebook.
TMC: It’s a great forum. A group of great young men came up with the idea a few years ago after a lot of exchanges and healthy ones for that matter on facebook , on Gambian sports and then they decided to start the forum and it just has a big membership and it is absolutely positive.
What is most interesting is the fact that this forum is reconnecting long time friends from all over the world.
I do think the boys that started it just slugged it out of the ball park. A great idea indeed and I could not be prouder of the young men who came up with the idea. I cannot mention their names because I had no permission to do so, but it’s a positive avenue for Gambian sports and I think those who run sports should become members and look at the great and positive suggestions that are made within.
Lamin: The million dollar question: when are you returning home to be part of the sports development project?
TMC: Let’s leave this one for another day; I’ll just plead my Fifth Amendment right on this one.
Lamin: Some of the readers have asked that you delve into some of the one liners in the article, for example, “DEM NGA ABIJAN.”
TMC: You know, I’d do anything for the fans. However those one liners will always be in house unless they have Biri, Sang Ndong, Pa Mu Ndow, Essa Faye, Lie Ndure, Laos, Lamin Owens, and the rest down there to decode them; it’s not gonna come from me.
Lamin: Finally on the looming FA Presidential elections. You have endorsed Halla Samba, why?
Tijan: My endorsement does not count but again it’s the beauty of Democracy, your right to choose the candidate you feel can get the job done.
Now you have to understand one thing: I am not a stakeholder in Gambian football; I am a fan that had the opportunity many years ago to work with Halla Samba.
I spoke based on my professional acquaintance with him and indeed he was a proven winner who got the job done.
When you look for a leader, you need a solid personality and that’s the man I knew. He knows the game like no other and he has a proven track record as a winner. If putting these out there is an endorsement, then so be it!
Lamin: Last words.
TMC: It is a national disgrace and an insult indeed that all our veteran stars are forgotten, its a shame. I was watching my old friend Abdoulaye Diaw the other day in a programme he features greats like Joseph Koto, Amadaou Jobe (Boy Bandit), Kumba Diekel Diawara, Tassirou Diallo and many more and indeed it was very moving to see people of my era in Senegambian sports being celebrated thirty years later; it makes me wonder why are we lagging behind? These are heroes who put it all out there for our country, NANGE LEN DELOR PAAKA CHA MBARAAM TE FAEDALI SUNYU KOLARE CHI SU NYUI JAMBARR YI!
Lamin: It is always a privilege for me and my readers to learn from the rich sports history you have and always willing to share whenever I come calling for it. You are truly a national sports icon. That golden voice over Radio Gambia is still fresh in many minds and indeed you are missed in Gambian sports. Thanks a million TMC.
TMC: Thanks also Lamin