The President of The Gambia Football Federation officially opened a four – day training program for Coaches for Female football at the National Technical Training Centre in Old Yundum. He expressed his Executive Committee’s desire to exert every iota of support to develop female football throughout The Gambia.
In a packed hall, The GFF President methodically highlighted the relevance of developing our Women folk using the power of the global game. He thanked FIFA and CAF for their immense support to Women’s Football. Furthermore, he said he could not end his speech without thanking H.E Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya Jammeh for his invaluable support to Gambian sports in general and football in particular.
He explained that the GFF intends to use this training program to educate the young girls of the country about the options available to play football noting that during the past few years, the GFF realised that they had to develop women football in The Gambia to also cater for their needs in the overall development strategy.
President Bajo added that the program will also help to raise the profile and competence of the participants, whom he noted would be given the encouragement by the Federation to stay in the game after their careers, adding that it would be an opportunity for their continuous involvement and contribution in the development of Female Football in our country.
Mr. Alhaji Marong, representative of the Minister for Youth and Sports, said the Ministry is delighted with the GFF for cementing the collaboration with FIFA towards the development of Women’s Football in the country, noting that the Gambia Government under the Leadership of President Jammeh believes that sports should not be limited to men only. He called on the participants to take the course seriously in order to become instructors in future.
The course instructor, Jacqueline Shipanga, a Namibian expressed joy with the new GFF leadership for recognising the importance of developing women football in the country. She noted that she was in The Gambia for a similar training four years ago, and said she has seen the importance that the Kaba Bajo led committee has attached to the development of women football.
According her, FIFA under the leadership Joseph Sepp Blatter has a very special place for Women Football and that prominence is now given to women football in so far as it is accepted as an Olympic game.
She congratulated the four African teams that have qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, noting that this shows that Female Football is growing in the continent, and it is evident that The Gambia would not be left behind. “The appointment of the new leadership and a national women football coordinator reveals a lot about the country. I am here to share my experience and knowledge with you and I would urge the participants to make best use of the opportunity.”
GFF General Secretary Mr. Abbas Bah remarked that this is a very important day for the development of the Women’s Football in The Gambia citing that the secretariat is committed to the implementation of programs and policies approved by the GFF Executive and FIFA in the overall development of Women’s Football. He said with regards to the training, they seek partnerships from all stakeholders in football development to move Female Football to appreciable heights.
Bah added that the determination of the GFF secretariat is to have a qualified human resource base, that can deliver programs at all levels, He said that training is the foundation and the factory that can build a very qualified and well talented football team that can bring glory to the country, noting that the Federation will endeavor to provide the technical guardians and resources to develop women football.
He finally thanked FIFA and the course coordinator for the time and resources used to implement this program. He also on behalf of GFF thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports and partners for supporting women football development in the country.
GFF Female Football Co-ordinator , Choro Mbenga said Women’s Football has long been marginalised everywhere in the world, noting that the development of their game was significantly under- funded previously saying that the little resources made available were used to develop Male Football. However, she said that in the recent past they have witnessed an increase in funding from Government, Private and Public sector, FIFA and CAF towards Women’s Football development.
She commended the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youth Sports for the support rendered to Women’s Football in the past few years, recalling the support given to The Gambia U-17 finalists before, during and after the FIFA World Cup 2009.
Co-ordinator Mbenga also commended FIFA and CAF for the invaluable support given to Female Football in The Gambia noting that Mariama Sowe (Mbom) and herself have both immensely gained so much knowledge from the global and continental bodies towards the development of Women’s Football in this country.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. Ebou Faye First VP, Mr. Martin Gomez Third VP and Mr. Bakary Jammeh. GFF Executive Committee Member, a representative of the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports, WAFU General Secretary, Senior Football Coaches and Administrators. Mr. Ebrima Manneh, GFF Technical Director chaired the ceremony.
Twenty – six participants from female football clubs, regions and elite players and two retired players are enrolled for the Coaches’ training program. FIFA Instructor, Jacqueline Shipanga from Namibia is assisted by Choro Mbenga, GFF Female Football Co-ordinator.
The course will run through December 15 – 19, 2014 and will end with a Female Football festival involving over 240 female participants at the same Centre.
More to follow.