Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gambia: Football body lift ban on ousted president

The Kinteh-led executive committee was dissolved by Gambia’s sports ministry on March 2, 2012 and banned by a local football normalisation committee on July 15 2013 from holding office (Photo/Picasaweb/freedom).

Gambia’s football governing body Saturday lifted a five-year ban on former president Seedy MB Kinteh and members of his ousted executive committee.

Kinteh and his former vice president Adama Halla Samba were banned after a GFF Normalisation Committee-established Disciplinary Committee accused them of “financial misappropriation” and “managerial irregularities”.

Senior staffers Abdou Salam Jammeh, assistant secretary general; Terema Dahaba, former director of National Technical Training Centre; Kemo Ceesay, former treasurer, and Jammeh EK Bojang, secretary general and Omar Sampo Ceesay and Lamin King Kolley – all former executive members of the Federation (formerly Gambia Football Association) were also banned. 

On October 26, the Gambia Football Federation, GFF, which was elected in July, lifted that ban at an impromptu extra-ordinary general assembly held at the national stadium hostel, Bakau. 

Mustapha Kebbeh, President of GFF, told journalists the ban is scrapped with “immediate effect” to pave the way for unity. Kebbeh had pledge to unite all stakeholders in Gambian football after a long running war of words between his camp and that of the then normalisation committee prior to his election.

He said members of the Federation requested for it [lifting of the ban] and have given genuine reasons why such a ban is not in line with the call for unity in football development. 

Kinteh and Samba have since denied the allegations and have accused the Normalisation Committee (NC) of presiding over a smear campaign and witch-hunting exercise against the Kinteh-led Executive Committee that was dissolved by The Gambia’s Sports Ministry on March 2, 2012. 

When the five year ban of Kinteh and 15 of his dissolved executive committee was announced, amid rising tension, local journalists said they saw this (ban) coming ever since the GFF-NC granted itself “sweeping powers” in a mysterious letter purportedly sent to it by FIFA.

Namorry Trawally, a senior sports journalist, said the NC wants to kick against public opinion by vowing at a secret meeting to disqualify Mr. Kinteh and Mr. Samba from contesting for the presidency of the GFF.

“This recent overture from Mr. Omar Sey (NC Chairperson) has not come as a surprise to most of us because he has an old score to settle with either of the two,” alleges Trawally, also the Editor-In-Chief of Sports View.

On June 8, former FIFA Deputy General Secretary, Jerome Champagne, said he is dissatisfied with attempts to block candidates running for GFF presidency.

“To block candidates is not correct and frankly we should have an open election,” Champagne told West Coast Radio. “Football is about democracy, and football is about giving a chance to everyone.”

A few hours to the July 31 election, Brikama United FC and Bakau United FC agreed to withdraw the candidature of Seedy M.B. Kinteh for the presidency of GFF.

“This decision was reach in the best interest of national peace and security,” the clubs said in a statement. 

On July 17, the NC rescinded the ban imposed on Regional Representatives after an appeal filed by Messers Abdoukarim Sey and Ousainou Darboe, the representatives of West Coast Region and Banjul.

Both told an appeal hearing presided over by the NC that during the period under review (2009-2011) they were merely on the peripheries of the administration of the Seedy Kinteh-led executive.

Meaning lifting a five year ban on the following regional representatives: Alh Omar Sowe - Upper River Region, Saikouba Ceesay - Central River Region, Wandifa Kinteh – Lower River Region, Lamin Dampha – North Bank Region, Ousainou Darboe - Banjul, Abdou Karim  Sey – West Coast Region, and Sulayman Drammeh – Kanifing Municipality.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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