The latest Gambian government decision has raised questions about how important is football for the authorities. The decision to cancelled the postponed camp training for the senior national team came on Saturday 28th few days ahead of the slated date for the training.
The joint statement from the Ministry of Youth and Sport and The Gambia Football Federation reveals it was “necessitated by the inability of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to access the required funds to finance the training camp”.
The statement went further to say, “when the situation was communicated to the Gambia Football Federation with the options of either the Gambia Football Federation pre-finance the camping or rescheduled it to the next FIFA window next month, the federation tried without success”.
Adding that “due consultations with the head coach and other stakeholders” was done.
The cancellation came just a few days after the head coach of The Gambia nation team—Tom Sainfiet, unveiled his 23 names for the anticipated Comoros training camp.
After the statement emerged online through the Gambia Football Federation Facebook page, different commentators shared their opinions, most disappointed. In contrast, others feel the need to support the government as they are trying their level best.
This is the first time that the Gambia will be participating in – African’s biggest football tournament— thus, maximum preparations from the team was expected by the fan, and of course, a never seen support and funding from the Gambian government was never left out.
In June 2021, the Gambian team boycotted a meeting with the president due to bonus disputes after the country’s historical qualification.
The team was allocated $125,000, which was meant to be shared among the players and staff. The news caused a lot of noise on social media among football fans.
This is the second controversy regarding finance and the Gambia senior national team and the government since the country qualified for AFCON 2022—leaving the unanswered question many asked, is football a priority on The Gambian government agenda?