Friday, February 3

Sports Ministry Wants Dialogue With Protesting Footballers

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The Ministry of Youth and Sports has called for dialogue with protesting Scorpions team who are protesting over unpaid match bonus.

Earlier on Tuesday, the national team boycotted a meeting with President Adama Barrow, demanding a pay of their match bonus that qualified the country to it’s first-ever Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon in 2022.

Later on, the team met President Barrow at State House after talks, where the president handed a cheque for D11.1 million to the team. But it seems the players and top officials of the team are still not satisfied by the amount.

Speaking at a news conference, Minister of Youth and Sports Honorable Bakary Badjie said they are looking forward to having a dialogue with the players on the matter before anything.

He however said if the senior national team players reject the D11.1 million matches bonus government would finance other projects with it.

“This D11.1 million was actually not allocated in the budget that you will see bonus for senior team when we were doing a planning. These are resources that government have and because they qualified, we have gotten resources and put it there. But there are other projects that are ongoing that equally need money as well, there are other teams that also need support. We will use the money if they refuse to take it at all,” he explained.

Ask if he spoke to the players after the event, he replied “no I did not talk to them. I don’t have a direct contact with the boys. I know some of them from way back but when it comes to the portfolio, I don’t deal with them based on my position as a Minister.”

Talking about deserved motivation after qualifying the country, Honorable Badjie responded in positively.

“Yes, I am impressed (with the motivation). The D11.1 million is what we have given. We don’t want to compare ourselves with other countries,” he said.

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) was contacted for comment but preferred to come up with a statement, then talking to the media.

The players are said to have declined the president’s invitation to receive the cheque in the said letter obtained and published by the BBC earlier on Monday.