The visit was meant to afford the ministry’s authorities first-hand information about the construction sites for the proposed mini stadia and other sport projects upcountry.
The delegation was headed by Lamin A. Camara, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Administration and Finance at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. They set out last Thursday, June 25th for their first point of call at Diabugu in the Upper River Region (URR), where Sunkary Jawo, chairperson of Diabugu Sports Committee, expressed delight at the gesture, noting that the project came at a time when the people of Diabugu needed it, considering that the 56 villages within the area are populated mainly by young people.
“With this project, young people will showcase their talents in sporting activities and it will discourage illegal migration.”
The stakeholders were later made to witness surveying and assessment of the site for the proposed mini stadium.
Lamin Sima, Upper River Region youth and sport coordinator acknowledged that the initiative could not have come at a better time; as the people of Upper River Region are in dire need of infrastructural development; especially sports.
Mr. Sima expressed hope that the initiative would increase the participation of young people in sports.
In Janjanbureh, Saikou M. Jobe, sports coordinator for Central River Region led the delegation on a tour of the 250x 250 square meter land identified for a mini-stadium, situated at the entrance of the Island.
“All Sporting activities are centered in the urban areas; but with the idea of building mini stadia in the regions, it would not only enhance employment creation but also expose the potentials of young people who are into sports,” Jobe remarked.
Alhaji Ebrima Ceesay, member of Pakaliba Village Development Committee (VDC) hailed the initiative believing that it would empower young people.
Samba Keita, chairperson of Foni Sports Committee said the development would serve as gateway for more development projects and advancement of sports in the region. He said Foni has been a breeding ground for Gambian sporting talents, some of whom have become key players for national teams.
“We have a lot of Sainey, Sanna Nyassi’s and Tijan Jaiteh’s in the Fonis but the conditions of our football grounds are hampering their potentials.”
Keita said with this project, they will dominate Gambian football by winning the trophies and also have two or three divisional teams”.
Commenting on the tour at the end, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Finance and Administration, Lamin A. Camara affirmed said the tour was to assess the project inception, noting that while the Ministry is eager to implement the projects in earnest, they needed more details before venturing into it.
“This is quite important amidst the prevailing disputes surrounding communal lands across the country. The Ministry of Youth and Sports would like to involve in such with this multimillion dalasis project.”
Charged with the affairs of developing, promoting and regulating youth and Sports programmes and guided by its policy and strategic plans, the officials say they are committed to the attainment of the objectives of sports development and youth empowerment, and that these rural sports infrastructural development initiatives are part of this expressed commitment.
So far, a consultant has been recruited for the design and supervision of football fields in Kiang Manduar in the Lower River Region, Kafuta, Kombo East in the West Coast Region and Fulabantang in the Central River Region, where similar projects are ongoing.
By Lamarana S. Jallow
Assistant Information Officer