Football Funding, Voluntarism and Claims in The Gambia

Organized football in The Gambia since times in memorial have been a voluntary, or a very damning-pay as a trade to the players (stake holders) involved.

Alhagie OB Conateh (Walidan FC) Late Ousainou Njie (Hawks FC ), Ebou Ndure&Co ( Second generation Real De Banjul), Late Father Gough (Roots FC), Alhagie Gabi Sosseh ( Mass Sosseh FC) just to name a few with their own personal resources were self-financing and self-sustaining their individual clubs and Gambian football in general for nearly three decades with Alhagie OB Conateh the longest serving may Allah continue to give him good health and an extended longevity. Other community teams with individual and community-financing emerged and faded away to compete the dominance of Walidan, Real De Banjul and Hawks in the 90s trotting down to a nearly a decade in the year 2000. In this period start light FC faded away re-emerged and disappeared, Young Africans emerged again and and still hanging on and had a lot of its existence owed to Ousainou Darboe, Steve Biko ever strong and competing refusing to diminish despite the challenges even wining a league title in 2013, Sait Matty FC under the stewardship of Pa Suwareh Faye competed briefly and later faded away as well. Flamines FC, Saraba FC, all shared Similar Fate. A financing revolution emerged around early 2000 with the establishment of institution teams GPA FC , Gamtel FC , GAF FC, Interior Fc were erected bankrolled by a huge financial packaged unprecedented in Gambian Football with monthly salaries for players, coaches and other Support staffs. Obviously these clubs started to dominate and win trophies. Real De Banjul and Hawks transformed into a sport-business entity to keep challenging the well-furnished institution teams. A much more community oriented teams also emerged but few are in the bracket of title challengers Brikama

United, Banjul United with one league title and two cups in their combined trophy hall. Tallinding United back in the first division again but for how long, Serekunda United relegated again, Lamin United in the third tier.

This is just a brief of illustration The Gambian footballing set-up and how it has been institutionally / individually funded. It’s not even a properly designed to match the demands of an amateur league. Thus If one is venturing into any sector of Gambian football you must always take into cognizant of volunteering with little or no gains unless you device a way of diverting funds for personal gains as an administrator or you got snap by GAF or GPA as a coach and have a huge monthly pay cheque and allowance, as a player unless you go pro you will be going home with few thousands every month and as a Referee unless you have a FIFA batched pocketing dollars per international game you will be receiving D250:00 as fare not pay per game.

Papa Bakary Gassama the best referee in Africa used to receive way less than D250 as fare but managed to climb his way to the Pinnacle of world football. Previous GFA administrations even failed to pay the D100 designated fare for referee for a whole league season and it had to take a lot of negotiating by the late Uncle Badou Jassey ( One the greatest referring figures in The Gambia )to get this package from GFA after the end of league Season.

Majority of FIFA batch referees are permanent employees of institutions and are granted unconditional permission to practice their trade when the need arise fair or not ? a moral lesson.
Do they need to boycott the second game after already playing the opener to get a pay rise in fare?
Do we have an open- ended fight in our hands between Ansumana Kinteh led Association with GFF?
I think we have a war energized by the up coming GFF elections between camps in our hands and it’s unfolding in all sectors. I wish it was game of Chess but it’s turning out to be a game of sabotage and by any means necessary

The moral lesson is that in fighting a course of one aspect of football in refereeing, take a minute and think of people who have spent and still spending their personal money to fund football, majority of volunteering football administrators, coaches, athletes, medics and even journalists who do not even get D 50 as fare in contributing immensely for the development of football. We all have right to claim what we deserved but am afraid in Gambian football the worthy claimers and the least- Beneficial are most silent backed by a great deal of humility.
Who in The Gambia is rightfully and adequately payed for your work and services? Majority are not thus we all have a Just course to claim.

SHEIKH TIJAN GAYE

CAPITAL FM SPORTS NETWORK

Edriss K :