Sports journalists express disappointment at GFF Media Department

Aug 3, 2021, 3:02 PM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

The sport journalists of The Gambia have expressed disappointment at the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) Media Department for giving directive not to allow them have access to the pitch to conduct interviews with the coaches, players and fans after the final game of the 1st Division League between the champions Fortune FC and Waa Banjul played at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Sunday.

The occasion also coincided with the coronation of league champions Fortune FC.  

The Sports reporters alleged that the GFF Media and Publicity officer Bakary Baldeh alias B.B. Baldeh, gave the directive to the security officers not to allow or give access to any media personnel at the pitch to conduct interviews.

The sports reporters present at the scene on Sunday, said that it was a shameful directive coming from B.B Baldeh.

“It’s really a shame for the simple fact that we have been covering matches since the start of the 2020-2021 league season. Why wait until the final day, you deprived us and want to take the credit,” said Pa Barrow of Afri Radio. 

He revealed that the GFF media team can’t take the credit for something they don’t work for.

“Most of the GFF media team doesn’t even watch matches. In fact if you ask them about the league, or ask them to name their players of the season they will struggle to name them.”

He finally said that he had no grudges over the GFF media team but complained that what they have done on Sunday was absolutely wrong.

“Fortune won the league and we congratulated them but I’m very disappointed with what transpired at the stadium.”

Paul Steven Pierra, journalist at Star FM said that he was very disappointed especially coming from someone he has given high regards to.

“It could have been better said if the person who allegedly gave the order wasn’t called but fortunately B.B. Baldeh’s attention was actually called by his colleague at the same media department, Ebrima Suwareh, and he looked at us eye-to-eye but he never said anything,” Paul Steven explained.

“If this is the way we want to continue working on our sports, then it's better we park off and go farming,” he concluded.

Seedou Sanneh said it was quite disheartening and embarrassing, adding that personally, this wasn’t the first time he was deprived from doing his job.

“I want to inform the people who made this decision that they didn’t like the sports more than we do and they are not doing the work better than us.”

 Bakary Baldeh has reacted to the allegations directed at him, saying that he didn’t give any directive to any security to prevent journalists from accessing the main bowl.

“In fact, this thing happened at a time when I was conducting a celebration interview with Coach Jane Joof of Fortune on the pitch, which was different from the pre-arranged usual post-match press conference,” he explained.

According to B.B., as he is fondly called, he was shocked and surprised at the claims that he gave such a directive as it could have come from the organising committee.

He maintained that none of the journalists was barred from accessing the stadium to cover and report on the game.

Meanwhile, the association governing all sports journalists in the country, SJAG, said they are in solidarity with their members who were denied access to the stadium pitch.

“The SJAG Executive calls for proper and better organisation and communication when such events are taking place, while expressing solidarity with our members over the unfortunate incident. Journalists are important stakeholders in promoting the game and such should be avoided by whoever must have given the directive.

The League is what it is today because of the media attention. The Executive will continue to engage the Football Federation to avoid the recurrence of this incident, which is regrettable and unacceptable.”