By Modou Lamin Drammeh
The race for office at the Gambia Football Federation is heating up as the August 27th GFF election lies in the offing. Camps have been unveiled, manifestoes launched, allegations and accusations levied, and political promises have been pledged to sweeten voters’ ears and cajoled them into voting for either candidate.
It is Team Kaba versus team Restore Confidence as Lamin Kaba Bajo goes head-to-head with Sadibou Kamaso for the top GFF Job. United colleagues four years ago and divided rivals now. The nation’s football governing body will either see a continuation of leadership or a new head of the federation on August 27.
Lamin Kaba Bajo, who served for 8 years and is still seeking another four years, said he wants continuity of progress at GFF. The former minister and diplomat said he’s the best person to lead the affairs of Gambian football.
Quizzed about who between him and his opponent is the perfect fit to lead, Kaba said:
“I am a thousand percent better at leading Gambian football. Hundred thousand times better than Kamaso. My records are there. I don’t want things to go personal but if you look at his records and his football profile, that will tell you. From 2018, all the responsibilities he has in football, all the experiences he has in football management nationally, is thanks to my leadership and I am the one who appointed him to those positions,” he said.
However, Sadibou Kamaso, who went around convincing football stakeholders to vote for Lamin Kaba Bajo in 2018, has now changed colours and reckons that it is he who has the know-how and wherewithal to be the president of the Gambia Football Federation.
“I believe, with every fiber of my being, that I am the right candidate now. I have got the experience. I have got the energy. I have got the expertise and I understand the inner intricacies of how football is governed,” Kamaso told The Fatu Network.
As the election date draws close and football enthusiasts anticipate the results, an interesting event has unfolded.
Weeks ago, the Commission on Political Debate, a non-partisan group in the country’s football electoral affairs, announced that it will stage the first ever GFF Presidential debate, giving Gambia football zealots and stakeholders a glimmer of hope to see both Lamin Kaba Bajo and Sadibou Kamaso debating over policies in the presence of delegates and ordinary football lovers alike.
Mister Bajo, last month told the Fatu Network that he is open for a debate because he has much to say.
“I am hundred per cent ready for a debate but based on the need. I am the one who needs the votes of the stakeholders. I feel that going on an open debate will earn me their votes, of course, I will go. If I don’t need it, I will not do it,” the GFF president said.
However, Surprisingly, to others and unsurprisingly to some, the incumbent Lamin Kaba Bajo and his team have declined to take part in the debate scheduled for August 13th.
Despite that, the Executive Director of the Commission on Political Debate, said they are hopeful that Lamin Kaba Bajo will reconsider his decision.
“We are optimistic that he might change his mind and his entire team to participate in the debate.
But Baboucarr Nani Sey, the campaign manager of Team Restore Confidence said Kaba is scared.
“Kaba is scared of the debate. He has no plans. No ideas and that is why we are into this mess”, he claimed.
Kaba will be assisted by his long-term allies, Bakary Jammeh and Ebou Faye, who are up for the first and second vice president positions.
Sadibou has Arthur and Red Scorpions Chero Mbenga as his deputy one and two.
It remains to be seen if Lamin Kaba Bajo, the new WAFU Zone A president, will continue serving as the head of the country’s football governing body, or will his former campaign manager, Sadibou Kamaso, turn doubters into believers that it is time for change at the county’s football house. The 77 delegates will decide this on the 27th of August.