By Ndey Sowe
The National Inter-Departmental Sports Association (NISA) on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 inaugurated the National Organising Committee (NOC) for the upcoming of the L’OSTA Banjul Afrisports championship set to be staged in The Gambia from 6th to 12th March, 2023.
L’OSTA is a French acronym meaning the Organisation of African Workers Sport.
NISA is collaborating with The Gambia Government through the National Sport Council and the Ministry of Youth and Sports joint hands together to chart the way for a successful hosting of the championship.
“We expect the upcoming L’OSTA NOC to work together as a team so that the event can be successful so that Banjul can make history in terms of sport, workers sport and sport tourism in the country because we are expecting people from all over the African continent to converge in Banjul”, said Baye Bittaye, the Secretary General of NISA during a press conference held at the Friendship Hostel in Bakau.
NISA organised the press conference to brief the media on the status of preparedness of The Gambia hosting the aforesaid championship.
Mr Bittay said this is the first time they have a huge gathering of workers to do sports in The Gambia, saying it is going to be a stepping stone for the country to start thinking about hosting big international events.
Saikou B. Jarju, President of NISA, said the NOC will be the decision-making body overseeing nine (9) sub-committees namely; the logistics, finance, competition, marketing, medical, protocol and transport, technical, publicity, and the security sub-committees.
Jarju explained that The Gambia will host two very important continental events; the L’OSTA continental congress – which is expected to bring along fifty (50) delegates across Africa – and the L’OSTA continental workers sport – featuring six (6) disciplines, which are football (on the eleven side), football (on the six side), volleyball both male and female, hand ball both male and female, the Petan bull and finally the Walk for Health.
“The Gambia is expecting delegates from close to twenty (20) African countries and some of them will be coming with a team or two for the championship,” Jarju indicated.
Marcel Mendy, Executive Director National Sports Council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming nothing less than three thousand (3,000) people in this country. Some countries alone might come with three (300) people and some two hundred (200). We need to get things done right and therefore we need to start it now. The reality is that we are behind time and hosting a big event will require six or seven months of planning.”
Bakary Y. Badjie, the Minister of Youth and Sports, said their role as a government and a ministry is to provide the needed documentation to show that the ministry and The Gambia will be ready to serve as a host to the 2023 event. He therefore congratulated NISA for having succeeded in convincing their workers union to bring L’OSTA to The Gambia for the first time.