Gambian coach Peter Bonu Johnson poses before the FIFA Brazil WC2014 qualifiers match against Morocco on June 15, 2013 in Marrakech, Morocco. AFP PHOTOS / FADEL SENNA (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Retired journalist Tijan Masanneh Ceesay has written to President Adama Barrow calling for the president’s involvement in ensuring Peter Bonu Johnson is given a proper send-off.

Former Gambia coach Peter Bonu Johnson died on Sunday at the age of 56.

And Tijan Masanneh Ceesay in an open letter titled ‘Request for State Funeral for Peter Bonu Johnson’, wrote: “Your Excellency, I present my compliments to Your Excellency and have the honor to communicate to you Sir relevant to the above captioned matter.

“Mr. President growing up with you, I know for a fact you were a diehard football fan who cherished The Gambia National Football team. It is against this backdrop that I write to crave your kind indulgence in requesting a State Funeral for Peter Bonu Johnson who passed on today, the 29th of July.

“By way of background information Peter Bonu Jonson joined The Gambia National around 1983 with his assignment for The Gambia in Accra. Up to his retirement he left every ounce of Gambian sweat and blood on pitches around the continent and, during that process lost his left eye in the Congo on the services of our country. Upon his retirement from  the national team, he trained to be a Coach and statistically, he is the most successful Coach in  Gambian football history, domestic or Foreign.

“In addition, he has touched the lives of many Gambians and the many postings of adoration on social media is a testimony to the lives of many young people from over the country. He truly was a Patriot and I do trust you will consider this request on behalf of all Gambian football fans who idolized him as both a player and Coach. In sum, I respectfully invite reference to the fitting State Funeral and farewell our Sister Republic gave Jean Francois Berthan Bocande a few years ago. Like the latter, Bonu is very deserving of this honor which can only happen through your kind approval; and; I trust you will.

“Your Excellency while looking forward to your kind intervention in ensuring a national Hero and leader is given a befitting farewell by a grateful nation, I avail of this opportunity to renew to you Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration and best wishes.”