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URR Regional Sports Chairman Reacts

Apr 1, 2009, 6:31 AM | Article By: Joseph Furu Gomez-Chairman

Dear Editor,

Please allow me space in your newspaper to respond to some comments made in The Point newspaper.

This is in response to comments made in that newspaper of Thursday12th March, 2009, by Mr Omar Sompo Ceesay, chairman Basse Area Council, under the caption "Sports Is Dormant In URR - Chairman Ceesay'

In the view of the Regional Sports Committee (RSC) Upper River Region (URR) the comments are absurd, narrow and rare analysis of discontent aimed at sabotaging the Regional Sports Committee.

One cannot imagine that such comments can come at a time when considerable achievements have been made in all aspects of sports development ranging from capacity building, creation and strengthening of grassroots structures, provision of materials and equipment, financing, the development of a comprehensive strategic plans for the first time in the history of the region. Today the URR RSC is in contact with six National Associations as opposed to two in the past, namely Volleyball, Tennis, Basketball, GNOC, Coaches and Referees associations all of whom have had programmes funded by me in URR.

It is incorrect to say that sports has been dormant in URR between 2005 to 2009 against the backdrop that six training programs on various disciplines were conducted, vibrant grassroots structures put in existence, with sports performed in all the districts of URR. Since time is history, the region has never got teams in the second division level of the GFA but today we are counting on two. In fact if it were not for the making of Mr. Ceesay we would be talking about three teams. Wuli West would have been at the second division level but because of his apparent hostility towards the RSC and its Chairman, he deliberately scheduled the Finals of the GFA 3rd division on a date we were to play our own regional finals.Thus URR could not produce a team to play.

Those so- called golden days that he recounted had seen the heavy involvement of the local area council in financing especially football activities. Since we assumed office we had received no such funding, and without it we are happy to report that a total of 203 footballs, 26 sets of jerseys. 32 trophies were purchased by me and distributed to all the zones and schools. This was boosted by my personal donations of five thousand Dalasis to each of the seven zones totaling D35, 000 every year for the past four years. Besides I am one of those who had been behind that glory that once was with the likes of Ahmed Jow, Hon. M. Sellu Bah, Pa Amadou Susso, Musa Jallow, Foday Manneh, Late Malick Krubally, just to name a few. Everyone  in Basse knows that I managed the best team (NPE) in the 80s and 90s.

It is ridiculous to learn that "some sports died" when in reality they were never practised. It is my committee that conducted trainings for Coaches, referees, administrators and animators in football and volleyball.

We assumed office without any proper handing over or a plan, let alone money. To date, Chairman Ceesay has refused to relinquish his signature at the bank that has only a four thousand dalasis balance.

The problems he highlighted were his own making that were inherited from him. Instead of helping to nip the problems, Ceesay is active in fueling them as he set out to retain control over sports. He began to recruit representatives to the Regional football organizing committee who are not members of the RSC structures leaving the districts and RSC in isolation as far as football is concerned. How come there would not be divisions?

When we were called by the governor to let by-gones be by- gones, Mr Ceesay still traded on his old ways. This press interview is a clear testimony that Chairman Ceesay is not willing to live up to this, and indicates his hunt for the leadership of the RSC once more. It is not the failure of the people to appreciate him that should worry him but rather his inability to appreciate theirs. If he is truly seasoned and is willing to let seasoned people do the job, why not embrace it earlier? We are willing to dip into our pockets. He could have helped with his expertise to add value to what we were doing rather than gossiping. It requires very little ability to find fault, that is why he has so many critics in the world. If Ceesay as the chairman preceding me has had all the aforementioned activities in place, URR today would have been the best place for sports. The divisions and factions in Basse are caused by no one other than Mr Ceesay. Was it not him who recruited the best players of Basse in the name of Tumana and subsequently changed it to Waterman FC?  And leaving Basse wondering.

My committee kept a cool head all throughout this period so as to focus on development, but we continue to receive such out of place comments. There is no problem hating the dog but you should be genuine to accept that the dog has clean teeth. This means that despite the hate Ceesay has for the RSC he should as well accept that some achievements have been made during 2005 to 2009.

Joseph Furu Gomez-Chairman

Regional Sports Committee, UpperRiver Region, Tel: 9956521/7004051