Former Gambia Football Association Secretary General cum President George Gomez has commended the leadership of the GFF under Lamin Kaba Bajo for their excellent dispositions in recognizing late Alh Momodou Njie (Biri) even before he passed on.
Gomez said the efforts of Football House is really commendable and worth emulating describing the position as ” first of its kind in the Gambia to honor a sportsman in the person of Biri”.
The former Olympic movement Executive Director and ex national player who has quite a wealth of historical facts on the Biri generation and thereafter also congratulated the government of the Gambia in partnering with the GFF to recognize Biri in the highest fashion but hoped that such feat would continue on other sports men and women.
Biri was honored by the Gambia Football Federation as Outstanding Footballer Of All time (GFF Awards in January 2019) Technical Adviser and Goodwill Ambassador
Biri Biri Football Pitch at the NTTC in Yundum ( Under construction)
Mr Gomez posted his comments and tribute on his Facebook page as reproduced herein:
“The farewell given to Alhaji Momodou Ngoss Njie commonly knows as Biri Biri was dignified, appropriate and relevant. This is the first of its kind in the Gambia for a Sportsman to be given such a honor.
Over the years the Gambia has developed numerous sportsmen and women but none have given Gambia so much publicity and prominence like Biri. I have over the years argued that sport is the best way and the quickest to promote a nation and in many ways it has been the case in the Gambia.
When Sheikh Faye won the Silver medal at the All Africa games in Egypt in 1965 and the bronze at the Commonwealth games in 1970, the name of the Gambia was recorded in the International books of Sports.
Then came the U17 Gambian victory of CAF championship. Recently Gina Bass came with Gold medals at the Islamic Games and the All African Games yet Biri’s achievements as the first Gambian to break through the difficult biased and discriminatory European Sports market and scoring over 40 goals in a difficult league like the La ligue in the 1970s when there were very few Africans playing in Europe then is no small feat.
At the time Biri went for trials in Derby County there were only 2 Players with color playing in the English league Cliffe Best playing at West Ham and Edi Coker.
Biri would have been the 3rd colored and the first African to play in the English league if he was not rejected using flimsy excuse of he is not strong enough.
I was in England then and met him on arrival at the Airport. At the time the British Caledonian flight took two days to arrive at Gatwick after a night stop in Las Palmas.
I would like to congratulate the Government of the Gambia for their for sight in recognizing the efforts of the Sports men and women and honoring Biri Biri in the highest fashion.
I hope they will continue to recognize the efforts of so many who spent their time in training to represent the country in sports. To the Gambia Football Federation and the National Sports Council your planning and execution of the funeral arrangements were extremely good.
Impressive to wear his National team number 10 which I would strongly recommend that the GFF retires this number for a period of 3 years in his honor.
This has never happened in the Gambia and appropriately there has never been a Biri Biri in the Gambia.
There has never been a State Funeral for a Sports man in the Gambia. Biri was special and can have the honor of being the first to have things done”.