Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gambia arrest, detain football federation leaders

GFF President Mustapha Kebbeh (Photo Credit: Sang Mendy)
The police in Banjul have arrested and detained members of The Gambia Football Federation, GFF, on Friday.
“They are being held at the major crime unit division of the police department, in the capital,” GFF sources said. “The President Mustapha Kebbeh, Vice President Buba ‘Star’ Janneh, Secretary General Abass Bah are among executive committee members who were arrested over the weekend.”

It is not yet clear why the crackdown on the football officials. It came about 72 hours after Youth and Sports Minister Alieu K. Jammeh announced the sacking of the GFF president and four of his top executive and suspends all national football leagues.

Jammeh said he was acting on the findings of a task force set up by the national sports council, NSC, to look into the country’s expulsion from the CAF youth championship. 

Two-year ban

On May 1, the Confederation of African Football, CAF, imposed a two-year ban on Gambia from all categories of CAF competitions.   

CAF accuses the GFF of having different dates of birth and or documents for Ali Sowe, a player that was listed as ineligible in Liberia’s appeal against Gambia after an U20 qualifying match in Monrovia.

On April 21, the continent’s football governing body announced it has expelled The Gambia.

"Indeed, Sampere Mendy, Buba Sanneh, Bubacarr Trawally, Saloum Faal and Ali Sowe were all born in 1994 and are not qualified to participate…,” a CAF organizing committee agreed.

Subsequently, an NSC task force called for the sacking of the GFF’s technical director Ebrima Manneh, U20 team manger Saihou Bah and administrative secretary Baboucarr Jobe.
The task force also recommended that the [entire] GFF executive [committee should] resign for “failing and embarrassing the nation and losing public trust.”

'Rushing things'

 Meanwhile, a five-member interim committee has been set up to run the GFF, but football clubs said have expressed their disappointment and accused the minister of “rushing things.”

Interior FC head coach Yahya Yabo said: “GFF were wrong, yes, but despite all that, the Minister should have taken his time when making such decision.”

“Issues that holds the future of Gambian sport is at stake. We the Club representatives are totally against the decision for the fact that the minister should have consulted the relevant authorities.” 

Brikama United FC President Alhagie S. Darboe has also condemned the sport minister’s decision. He said it could be damaging to Gambian football. 

“Minister Jammeh is taking ‘very serious’ national issues by himself. These issues should have being discussed among the sport authorities before any conclusion is made,” he said. 

Written by Modou S. Joof



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