Nov 29, 2010, 12:58 PM
Wallidan football club have been relegated for the first time in the annals of the country’s football history.
The most successful team ever in The Gambia has now been relegated to division two.
The team was founded in 1969, and won many glories in football.
Wallidan won 20 times the FA Cup, and the GFA league for 16 times, to name a few of the club’s achievements.
The team has also represented The Gambia many times in the African club championship, the African winners’ cup.
It is the only Gambian team which has ever reached the quarterfinals in the African club championships, in the 80s.
However, it withdrew from their match with Esperance of Tunis because of financial constraints in 1991.
Wallidan should be applauded for achieving several successes in both Gambian and African football.
The founding members of Walidan included
It produced many international players among them, Biri, Lous, Alagi Babou Sowe, Solomon Nyassi alias Dalasi, Modou Lamin Badjie, Sega Jobe, Abdoulie Ndure, Casa Gillen and Alagie Ndure.
Other talents were Momodou Ceesay, Ebrima Sohna, Mustapha Jarju, Jatto Ceesay, Tamsir Manneh, Star Janneh and Essa Faye who also featured for the prominent Gambian side.
Officials of the team should learn from their mistakes by improving the technical team’s motivation of the players, through looking for sponsors to keep the team in high standards.
The other lesson is that Gambian clubs should learn to groom young talents, who will serve as a pool to feed the main squad.
Since the team used to be an umbrella of the national football team, they should work tirelessly to achieve their goal of keeping high the standard of football in the country.
The footballers should not be discouraged by being relegated, as this is part of football; in sports one cannot always win or lose.
Since Wallidan will be playing football in the second division next season, they should work hard to make a return to the first division, after being there for 43 years. This is the challenge.
In any case, many African governments now support football both financially and technically, for both local and national teams.
The business community also have a great role to play in promoting sport, through sponsorship to make the game sustainable.
Finally, it is the duty of the country’s football association to upgrade the league to a semi-professional or professional standard.
Thereby, the players will be paid lucrative money and be given insurance and other incentives.
This kind of motivation will helping develop football in The Gambia.
It will also create another avenue for employment, especially for our youths.