The coordinating committee of the football stakeholders Sunday called on the Normalisation Committee of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) to step aside and give way for an elected executive.
The committee made the call during a press conference it convened at the Serekunda East Mini-Stadium. The briefing was meant to discuss issues concerning the forthcoming GFA Congress, FIFA 30th September mandate for the Normalisation Committee and review its performance in office. In attendance were league clubs within the Greater Banjul Area and the regional football league committees chairpersons.
Speaking at the press briefing, Bori Darboe, in a report which was sanctioned by the members of the league clubs, said: “We are gathered today 30th September 2012, assuming that today will be a day when congress of delegates of the GFA with the voting rights would have voted into office a new executive to steer the affairs of the Association. However, this is not made possible due to the dissolution of the executive committee of the GFA six months ago today. The reasons we were told through the press conference and the media, soon after an interim committee was put in placed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and given the mandate to fix the situation within a six-week period.” Darboe thanked the former Executive Committee of the GFA headed by Seedy MB Kinteh for accepting to step aside, a decision he said spared Gambia from an international football ban.
He continued: “Gambian people and especially the football fraternity have waited patiently in anticipation to see where their football will move from the recent comedy of errors to fruition.” Darboe opined that the dissolution of the GFA was not based on any tangible facts, but instead a power struggle between the Ministry of Sports and a certain privileged few against the GFA. He said this first led to the sacking of the former national team coach Paul Put, adding that the Belgian was undermined by the same people who made their intention known in public before his sacking.
He also claimed that “a certain gentleman in football, a close relation to the current sports authority, spearheaded the crusade to seeing Coach Paul Put’s contract being terminated and the GFA Executive Committee being ousted from office”. He further claimed that the same individual played a crucial role in the makeup of the current complexity of the Normalisation Committee “due to the fact that he has been consistently vying for an executive position in the GFA on numerous occasions and each time he tried he is rejected by the voting delegates. Later he declared his intentions and impressed upon this sports authority to send away from office key staff members of the GFA at the expense of our football.”
He added: “We as stakeholders in Gambian football, especially the clubs and the youths of this country have witnessed rapid successes in the evolution and development of football in the country since the year 2005 when a peace tournament was personally sponsored by the president, thanks to his immense contribution and that of his government.” He then stressed that the financial and moral support that President Jammeh has rendered to the Gambian players which has changed the life of the players for good shouldn’t go down the drain.
Darboe also accused Omar Sey, the current vice chairman of the Normalisation Committee, for what he called his contribution in destroying Gambian football and now claiming to be a saint in the rebuilding efforts. He pointed out that Sey’s recent comments in a private Radio Station that he was offered “CAF presidency on a plate and rejected the offer” signifies his disloyalty to the Gambian football fraternity and the nation at large. He added that Sey’s current actions and statements contributed to creating a lot of camps in Gambian football.
He also said that the committee, instead of confining its performance to the prescribed terms of reference outlined in their mandate, has moved illegally to tamper with the secretariat by appointing and suspending the staff, something he said falls within the constitutional mandate of an elected executive committee. He also accused the Ministry of Youth and Sports of directly interfering in the appointment of the GFA staff. “Overall the dissolution of the executive committee and the setting up of the Normaliation Committee has spelt doom for Gambian football. Measures intended to justify the normalisation are not appealing to us and instead, only creating problems unabated on daily basis,” said.
On the issue of the minister’s claims that there exists no constitution when he was dissolving the FA, Darboe said there indeed was a constitution, which was ratified by FIFA and CAF waiting for stakeholders’ adoption at a Congress, which should have been done today by delegates of congress. He also accused the committee of lack of proper consultation with the football stakeholders in the country, which he said was premeditated. He also pointed out that during Seedy Kinteh’s term in office, he helped to register five Gambians as CAF and FIFA match commissioners, but Omar Sey on the contrary, was fighting a Gambian referee in the late Alhaji Badou Jassey when he was the vice chairman of the CAF referee’s committee.
Also speaking at the conference, Ebrima Manneh, a member of the committee, recalled the incident that marred Brikama United’s league game with Steve Biko and blamed the Committee for the failure to attend the game; and the pending appeal launched by Gamtel FC against Hawks for fielding an ineligible player in Modou Lamin Sillah despite the season finished a long time ago.
Manneh also recalled that a match-fixing allegation was lodged by the Gambia Armed Forces FC concerning the game between Real De Banjul VS Young Africans FC but despite an enquiry committee submitting its report, the parties involved are yet to be informed about the outcome. He also highlighted similar problems faced by teams in the second division, female leagues and the regions. He said funds were disbursed to kick-start the regional leagues but after only one week of action, it was stopped by the Normalisation Committee. Manneh also noted that the finalists of this year’s FA Cup in Gamtel and Interior are yet to receive any prize payment “even a promissory note indicating the prize award”.
Manneh said the former Seedy Kinteh-led Executive would have built four artificial turfs in 2012 and 2013, in Basse and Farafeni in 2012 and CRR and KMC would be the second beneficiaries before the congress in 2013, while highlighting the bad performance of our national teams under the current leadership. He dismissed the notion that there exists no regional league, as the current chairman of the Normalisation Committee of the GFA during his tenure as the FA president helped in the formation of the regional leagues and has been adopted by congress.
“Presently Isatou Jallow playing for the Female U17 in Azerbaijan came from Waterman FC regional league club, so how can one morally explain and justify the denying of the existence of the regional leagues; no wonder the Normalisation Committee immediately stopped the funding of the regional league as they stepped into the GFA office,” he concluded.