In its quest to transform the national league from its current amateur status to professional, The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) started a four-day capacity building programme for administrators and technicians of the 16 first division teams.
The event is jointly organised with the European football governing body, UEFA, through its programme called UEFA Assist.
Launched in 2017, UEFA Assist is an initiative aimed at providing practical assistance to other confederations in the development of football in the world. The training in Banjul is to build the capacity of Gambia’s football administrators who will be exposed to modules such as good governance and professional administrative structures, income generation, player administration, operational planning, league development, match-day operations and venue management amongst others.
The trainers include Joost de Wit, UEFA Assist Project Manager, Geoff Wilson and Marie Clerc, UEFA Assist Project Team members as well as Eva Pasquier, Head of UEFA Assist Programme.
The President of the GFF Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo, thanked UEFA for the project which he said is just one of many trainings that his administration benefitted from the UEFA. Mr Bajo said his leadership’ has considered training of coaches, administrators, referees and medics a stop priority. He urged the participants to make best use of the opportunity.
The Second Vice President Mr. Ebou Faye, who also is also head of competition matters at Football House said the transformation of the domestic league to the next level is long over due. “We have produced so many talented players but we are also losing a lot of revenue because we are amateurs,” he said, while adding that there is need for government to support in order to achieve this cause.
“We need government’s support because professionalizing the league can bring a significant positive benefit in increasing the employment rate of the youths. He also urged the clubs to work together and produce professional structures financially, technically and administratively.
One of the trainers Eva Pasquier, congratulated The Gambia for qualifying to Afcon. “It is very possible for The Gambia to professionalise her league because the country has a crop of players that can do it with the right knowledge of the administrators and technicians. Our role is to instill the right knowledge to these participants and with a good organisational structure of the clubs, the players’ development as well as good sponsors, this can be achieved,” she said.