Saturday, April 19, 2014

The wait is killing me. Is it killing you too?

Two seasoned sports administrators have said they are convinced The Gambia have not flouted any rule.

Gambians continue to wait anxiously for CAF to decide on the allegations leveled against The Gambia U-20. It has been 10 days since Liberia appealed against The Gambia for alleged use of five over age players, writes journalist Sang Mendy on Facebook. 

Since then, there have been conflicting reports about player eligibility. The Liberians claimed that only players born January 1, 1995 are eligible to play in the qualifiers. 

On the contrary, authorities at the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) state that players born in 1994 are eligible to play in the qualifiers until they turn 20. 

The Gambia defeated Liberia 1-0 in Monrovia last week in the first leg of qualifiers for the 2015 African U20 youth championship that will be hosted by neighbouring Senegal.

No rules flouted  

The 2nd Vice President of the GFF, KebbaTouray, who was the first to rubbish the Liberia appeal continued to call on Gambians to remain optimistic because they have “not flouted the rules of the competition.”

Two seasoned sports administrators, a former staff of the GFA and former executive member of the GFA who begged for anonymity are all convinced that unless there are new rules governing this competition, The Gambia have not flouted any rule. 

The duo said that unless the rules are changed players born in 1994 can play until they turn 20. 
It would be recalled that Congo has also appealed against Niger for use of players born in 1994. 

In the letter sent to all CAF affiliated countries dated September 2, 2013, all associations have been warned that only players born January 1, 1995 are qualified to play in the championship. 

In my earlier conversation with the CAF media officer, Junior Binyam pointed out that only players born in 1995 and above are eligible to play in the competition.

The bone of contention here is about which player is qualified to play in the qualifiers of the CAF U-20 championship due to played in Senegal next year. 

What is not clear is the rule itself. The rule covering player eligibility states that players born in 1994 are not eligible to play in the competition. Does that mean, they are not qualified to play in the qualifiers or in the tournament proper? 

This is what confuses people and is killing me, is it killing you too? In my views they must be clear. 


Facebook user BakauUtd commented: “Hahaha Gambia let's pray for the best, Caf is very similar to GFF, Bakau United have to wait for two months before we know our fate when Wallidan made an appeal against us and now we still waiting on GFF for another appeal we made against Real De Banjul...”

LaminJassey wrote: “You made the issue much clearer in my view. The question here is, are these Gambian players in question qualified to play in the qualifiers? This question can only be answered by Caf since there are no regulations that clearly states this. So yes it's a wait and see affair Sang.” 

Another facebook user Alieu Bah says: “I think our "U-20" are as old as the hills.” His fellow facebook user Omar OjJobe says “Gambian football [is] up in smoke”

In his contributing to the discussion, BulFaaleh wrote: “You know.This portion of player eligibility as it is, is really confusing... I bet when the letter was read by the GFF staffers it’s confusing...thus a scenario like this would have been avoided if GFF had just sent an email to the secretary general for clarification...” 

Then, Ba Jabbi wrote: “Decide they will and then the GFF legal minds will speak! Why are the legal luminaries mute? What is so complex in a document that cannot be fully deciphered by us, Gambians! As far as I am concerned we should not be found wanting in simple issues like player eligibility. Gambian football must have passed that stage. This document is not the davinci code, for the love of God.”

Al Amin Jahateh wrote: “Well if CAF said players born after 31stDec 1994 are not eligible to play the competition, obviously it should mean they are not qualified to play the qualifiers because with my limited knowledge of football, it is those who played the qualifiers who are supposed to play the competition. So why use overage players in the qualifiers for them to help you to win but only to drop them when you are going for the competition proper? Well, I think the CAF rule is clear in writing, may be its interpretation could be confusing because all laws are subjected to interpretation.”

LaminJassey endorsed Al Amin Jahateh’s view.“You have a point there!” he wrote.

You are free to continue the debate here.

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