#Editorial

Good Morning Mr. President: On Mali & Sahel, stadium, cost of living

Feb 21, 2022, 11:23 AM

Mr. President, French President Macron announced last week the withdrawal of French troops from Mali with 3000 personnel within six months. The troop has been in Mali since 2013 to fight jihadists who are well equipped, trained and financed.

Their aim is to declare the Sahel countries, Islamic states. The spokesperson of the Mali junta, Colonel Soulaymane Dembele, over the weekend said: “The French troops can leave Mali immediately without delay.” It should be recalled that last September the Malian government signed to recruit 1000 mercenaries with a Russian company to fight the jihadists. Security analyst said the withdrawal of the French troops in Mali will create an elapse in the security of the Sahel countries. We need good cooperation between Sahel countries and European Union and United States to tackle the jihadists who are here to cause instability in the region and distabilise the countries to facilitate coup which is not good in our society. The Russian private company recruiting mercenaries Wagner has supported Mali with 1000 mercenaries and 500 in the Central Africa Republic.  

Mr. President, The Gambia and Senegal should work in tandem for their security to monitor Cassamance MFDC rebels which could link with the Russian mercenaries. All Sahel countries should focus on their own security with more training, equipment, and cooperation with the West which has all the facilities to counter any terrorism attack.  

Mr. President, another important issue is for your government to rehabilitate the Independence Stadium which has been banned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for failure to meet the required standard of a stadium. Many things should be done to have the standard required for the stadium. Ebou Faye, the manager of the Stadium, confirmed to this paper that his institution first drew the attention of the government in 2012 and again in 2019 for the stadium to meet the requirements requested by CAF and FIFA. The Gambia is scheduled to play with Chad on 29 March 2022 for the preliminary round qualifiers of the Africa Cup of Nations. We will play Cote d'Ivoire in 2023 and would not be hosted in the Independent Stadium. That means that The Gambia will play its home matches in a neutral ground which is not good for us. The government should immediately approach the Chinese government for help and build another stadium.

Mr. President, there is a need to get more infrastructures in the country because sports is no longer leisure but business investment and a source of unity for the people. In 2016, FIFA provided funds for 10 infrastructures in the country.  The Football Federation should give an update to the public on how far on the building of those infrastructures.

However, this are the requirements from CAF:

1.     Re-grassing of the football ground
2.     Modern substitute benches
3.     Flood lights with 1200 lux and a standby generator for evening matches
4.     Complete renovation and expansion of the dressing rooms
5.     Modern first aid and treatment facilities for players and officials
6.     Seats for individual spectators;
7.     Equipped media facilities
8.     Training facilities
“The stadium is old and outdated in most of the existing facilities and lacks multiple CAF stadium requirements.”  

Finally Mr. President, about the cost of living, the business community is taking advantage of the no-price-control policy to increase the price of basic commodities on a weekly basis without justification. The Minister of Trade should establish a taskforce to combat this act which makes life difficult for the low income earners. A mechanism should be found to eliminate this strategy by shopkeepers and other business people for this increment of merchandise; if not, it will tremendously affect the lives of the populace.

Good Day!

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