Oct 30, 2014, 10:19 AM
Information that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has lifted the 2-year ban slapped on our country’s national teams and clubs from participating in international football is like good news from a distant land. It refreshes the spirit of football in the country.
In May of this year, The Gambia was banned by Caf from all its competitions - including the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations – after CAF ruled that the GFF had fielded five over-aged players during a game against Liberia in the African U-20 Championship qualifiers.
But for the starling and reputable performance of the most recent Normalisation Committee, we have been pardoned and the ban lifted for us to continue our international football campaign.
We would, therefore, like to take our hats off to the Alhagie Sillah-led Normalisation Committee which worked tirelessly to redeem our country from the CAF ban to set us again on a sound footing on the world stage of football.
CAF announced on Tuesday it had lifted The Gambia’s two-year suspension. This is a welcome development which took place after The Gambia Football Federation’s elections, held on Saturday and voted in former Gambian sports minister Modou Lamin Kabba Bajo as president.
We have now been released to sting the world stage of football. But - a big BUT indeed - is to ensure that the mishaps in our football management that led to the ban does not happen again. This was even the warning given to our officials who negotiated our freedom on the football table.
In a letter sent to Bajo, CAF added that the lifting of the ban was “depending on the fact that all matters of age cheating or similar and punishable offences should not occur in the future”.
We wouldn’t like to face the multiple embarrassments we encountered in this short spate of time our international football was made moribund. Our country’s name was tainted with bad record with the accolade of fielding in overaged players in our international football campaign or competitions.
Our local clubs were paralyzed and our football was put into disrepute, save for the Normalization Committee that has brought us respite. We should not let that happen again.
Once more, we say kudos to our Alhagie Sillah-led Normalisation Committee. You have made us proud, and have sat us on stage again in our international football campaign.
“To err is human, to forgive divine”