Monday, June 17, 2024

‘Pure fabrication’: Football fans, stakeholders say GFF’s 14 pitches FIFA report is misleading

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

Many football fans and stakeholders are in shock following FIFA’s report on its website that The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has used $11.4M (about D724,356,00) of the 2016-2022 FIFA support fund to build and renovate 14 football pitches across the country, leaving many Gambian football enthusiasts questioning the integrity of the GFF, and describing the report submitted by the Federation to the World Football Governing Body as misleading.

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According to a FIFA report, the GFF communicated that it has constructed 14 football pitches of natural and artificial grasses and renovated one playing field from the FIFA Forward Fund meant to support member federations.

Reacting to this report on the FIFA website, Abdoulie Bah, a renowned football commentator journalist, questioned the integrity of some key members of the federation, whom he believed would have fabricated the report.

“And you wonder why there is one man trusted by GNOC, by GFF heading every serious delegation, projects or made Chef De Mission to every Olympic mission to balance the books and fabricate false reports like these to lazy and worse corrupt international bodies such as these? The Kaba Bajo I know doesn’t have this capacity; is both a football layman and a finance novice. Sometimes I don’t blame him a lot; he uses his diplomatic skills to strike deals only for swindlers to water down the drain.

Why the heck is everybody in that country scared of mentioning two people; Beatrice Allen and Bakary Jammeh for their woeful failures, blatant malpractices, threats and dictatorial faces?” he questioned.

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Momodou Gajaga, another football zealot and a multiple award-winning sports journalist, said the report is a fabrication.

“14 pitches in the Gambia?

“This is a pure fabrication. Two artificial pitches, Banjul KG5 Mini Stadium and Brikama Box Bar Mini Stadium, are being renovated. Serekunda East Mini Stadium is the sole grass pitch that has been restored. Manjai Football Park has only had its outer fence restored. Whoever handed FIFA this report is deceiving them because it is far from reality on the ground,” Gajaga said.

Aside from the renovation works at the Brikama, Serre Kunda East, Manjai, Serre Kunda West, Banjul and Bakau mini-stadiums, the GFF began working on the Gunjur and Busumbala mini stadiums, which are still far from being completed for over 3 years now.

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On the 4th of December, the GFF reported that a delegation from FIFA, led by Fatou Camara, a FIFA Development Manager and a FIFA Infrastructure Consultant and others, successfully completed a four-day assessment and evaluation of works in the country.

According to the Federation, Fatou Camara and the team, expressed satisfaction with work on the projects because the GFF aligned on its agreed roadmap for the completion of infrastructure projects going forward.

The Fatu Network contacted the Director of Communications at the Gambia Football Federation for his reaction on the construction of 14 football pitches as reported on the FIFA website, but he couldn’t comment. He directed us to the GFF Project Liaison Officer, who was unreachable for comments at the time of going to press.

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