Monday, April 15, 2024

From Senegal to Morocco: Why GFF chose Casablanca over Dakar for Gambia’s home game

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

With the country’s only football stadium still deemed unfit to host international matches, the Gambia Football Federation has chosen Morocco over Senegal for the Scorpions’ home game against Mali due to logistical concerns, and financial and technical considerations that favour the federation regardless of the potential huge fan turnout in Senegal.

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On June 4, 2022, the Gambia used Stade lati dore in Thies, Senegal for its home game against the Bright Stars of South Sudan, however, they shunned the whole of Senegal this time for Morocco regardless of the proximity of the two countries.

Speaking to The Fatu Network, the Director of Communications at The Gambia Football Federation, Mr. Baboucarr Camara, explained why the federation picked Morocco over Senegal. He revealed that the North African nation will avail them to use the stadium at no cost, and pointed out that they have better facilities compared to neighbours, Senegal.

“Logistics, financial and as well technical considerations; all these in Morocco are the best options. They have better facilities in terms of training and accommodation. They will avail the stadium to us for free, unlike Senegal where Lat Dior is banned and Diamniadou is a Public-private partnership and quite expensive,” Camara explained when quizzed on why the federation chose Morocco for its home game over neighbours Senegal.

The GFF Director of Communications further explained that in terms of travelling and players to and from the camp, Morocco is much more apt than Senegal.

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“Also, in terms of travelling, Casablanca is a major hub where all our players coming for the game have direct flights from their destinations to the place, unlike Senegal where most of the players will have to transit. That will delay their arrival and affect our technical preparations and also delay their return to their clubs as well,” he added.

In June 2022, when the Gambia played in Thies against South Sudan, scores of Gambians made the journey to cheer up the team. This was due to its proximity to the Gambia. The crowd in Thies seems not to be too impressed by the federation and thereby not considering the need for Gambians to travel and support the players. Morocco, a country miles away from the Gambia, may see only a few Gambians travel to support the scorpions.

Komma Camara, a Gambian football fan, said the country playing its home game in a faraway country is something difficult for him to understand.

“Playing our home game far from home is something very difficult to understand or accept as a Gambian sports lover. The boys will not get the home fans’ support as host, which is disadvantageous to us despite other advantages,” he claimed.

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The scorpions will face Mali at Stade Muhammed V in Casablanca on March 28.

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