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What if we celebrate 62 years of football?

Feb 4, 2014, 9:21 AM | Article By: Abdou Salaam Jammeh, former GFA Deputy Secretary General

The founding members of the Gambia Football Federation would be excited with the celebration of their efforts after the establishment of the GFA in 1952 in the form of a Gala and award dinner, where the GFF could raise funds and honour administrators, coaches, team doctors, referees, players, journalists as well as government, public and private institutions who have played an important role in the promotion and development of football in the Gambia including Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA.

Sixty-two years of football development in the country is a unique and special achievement that represents concrete and meaningful progress and it is only natural to award and applaud the steadfast efforts and commitment of the past (some deceased) and present field generals of our sport in a weekend of reflection, reunion and renewal, and the baby face administrators at the Football House would win applause and admiration for this unique initiative.

This would be a night to remember them to take a textbook approach insuring that this flagship programme becomes an annual event that would bring the legends of the game from past and present to dine, mingle and reminisce about days gone by.

The future of football in The Gambia is full of promise and all have got to be involved and be part of it, especially after a hard-fought campaign and divisive election that ushered in the new football administrators.

 “We have big responsibility, we are an example for lots of kids and let’s not forget that sport is hope and hope means giving people a chance and we should sanguine about this and take concrete efforts to do it.”

The ultimate goal of the program will be to recognize and honour selfless service, courage and sacrifice of the men and women whose contribution to football is legendary and the gala award dinner would be crucial in bringing the family together more determined and inspired to work to boost and galvanise the image of football to an appreciable height.

Those influential, respectful and symbolic figures have individually and collectively contributed to football and their sacrifice and outstanding service should not go in vein or without recognition.

However, the author of this piece need no favours and would not be a recipient of GFF awards in the next twenty years because there is a long list of deserving recipients.

If every dog should have its day, please let it be on a sunny afternoon in Sabiji Dembadu the place I call my home.

The former executive had the annual award ceremony on their programs but was unable to execute it due to occupational hazard and other pressing issues and the ball is now in our court to celebrate football’s achievements after 62 years of existence and to honour people whose longstanding association and commitment to the holistic development football remains rock solid and unwavering.

Apart from the razzmatazz and the merrymaking, the 62nd anniversary celebrations of the nation’s most popular sport could serve as a pillar to build a better future for our football.

It would also be an opportunity to spread the message that football should be enjoyed by everyone, despite our differences.

Football like other sport shall not create boundaries; instead it shall bring people together and the GFF should make painful but necessary step to put the award ceremony in their end of the season program.

The organizers should consider inviting CAF and FIFA to the maiden and historic event and for them to use the occasion to officially inaugurate and commission the GFF administrative building and artificial turf pitches in Brikama and the National Technical Training Center in Yundum. And such a move could see both FIFA and CAF Presidents to the Smiling Coast of Africa.

To make this historic event a reality, the GFF should set up a special taskforce that would come up with the modus operandi for the anniversary gala and as a first time event collective efforts is required to ensure public and private sector partnership.

Sports gala and award ceremonies are permanent fixtures in the CAF and FIFA calendar of activities which honour and appreciate the efforts of football’s foot soldiers and army of volunteers, and we do not have to be a copycat in honouring our sports men and women for their individual and collective achievements in strengthening national unity through football by winning medals/accolades and hoisting the flag of our dear country higher and higher, but to follow the best practice that would add value to our sport and make the world a better place for our sporting heroes and heroines.

Maybe this special and long overdue project could be outsourced to a Banana company called “Door Doraat” for their study and immediate consideration.

We can solve our problems better if we work as equals and as respected members of the community and the celebration of 62 years of football would be the right step in the long journey and a turning point in our forward march for a progressive development of football.

We hope to see more collaborative and less confrontational stand for an effective and efficient delivery of goods and services that would have a desired and tangible impact on football.

We share an unwavering belief in the extraordinary power of football to unite people and to teach basic social and educational values as a school of life. 

We can move beyond this in a reasonable manner if we give this flagship program a renewed impetus and high importance.