Jun 10, 2009, 6:50 AM
The Gambia Female U-17 team on Tuesday visited the vice president and minister of women’s affairs after successfully qualifying for the first time to the FIFA Female U-17 championship in Azerbaijan, at her office at state house.
The team, led by the chairman of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) Normalisation Committee, Alagie OB Conateh, met the vice president after their historic achievement.
Speaking on the occasion, VP Njie-Saidy commended the team for their hard work and determination.
She pointed out that the team has re-written history after The Gambia male team qualification to the U-17 World Cup in 2005 in Peru.
She thanked the Normalization Committee for their commitment shown, especially its chairman O.B Conateh, for his international recognition in sport.
She added that the determination in the girls is a proof that they can win the world’s biggest trophy.
Alieu Jammeh, minister of Youth and Sports;Fatou Mbye, chairperson of the National Women Council;Alhaji O.B Conateh , chairman of the Normalisation Committee, and Buba Jallow, head coach of the team,also spoke on the occasion.
After the visit to the vice president, the team together with officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, sports officials and members of the GFA Normalization Committee Tuesday evening proceeded to the Kairaba Beach Hotel for a reception staged in honour of the team.
The reception was also attended by team members’ parents and other stakeholders.
Permanent sectary of the Ministry of Youth and Sport Mambanyick Njie, during the occasion, said he was very grateful and congratulated the team for their wonderful performance.
“This is the first time that the Gambian football has been up to this stage, which makes all the Gambians proud,” he said, adding: “This is a history for us the Gambians to witness a day like this which is a joyful day for us to celebrate.”
“This is the first time in the Gambian history for a women’s team to qualify for the World Cup, He said they can now count themselves as having built a solid foundation.
He also stated that parents should let their female children participate in football because it is very important for them to be part of.
On behalf of the President they will continue to give them the support they want, both during the World Cup and after it.
He advised them to have respect for their coaches and do what is expected of them.
“The rest of the job is in your hands and the people of The Gambia,” he said, thanking the girls for their wonderful performance.”
Alhagie Ousman Conateh, chairman of the GFA Normalization Committee, said it is not easy to get up to this stage; it is very important especially that it is the female under 17th team. At any competition Under 17 is a very important team because that’s where they are catching them young up to the Under 20. That’s why he is very much delighted about them and appreciate them.
They are very serious with this qualification, he said, adding that members of the team received cheques presented to them at the reception.
“We are going to test them all for their MRI test before the World Cup,” he said, adding that 95 per cent of them will pass the MRI test.
Omar Sey, vice chairman of the normalization committee, also said he is very happy and congratulated everybody for the victory.He said the girls have done very well and should therefore be congratulated.
They will be preparing for the World Cup by organizing friendly matches and camping trips so they can be well set for the 2012 World Cup.
Awa Tamba, one of the footballers, said she is very happy about their qualification and accomplishments.