By: Kebba AF Touray
Hadrammeh Sidibeh, the Youth and Sport Minister this week told Lawmakers that lack of adequate funds over the period, has thwarted the performance of the Gambia National Team.
Sidibeh disclosed this on Wednesday at the Legislative house in Banjul, in response to a question raised by the Member for Kombo East Constituency Lamin N. F. Conta. The Kombo East Member asked the Minister to explain the reason behind the National team’s low performance during international matches.
In his response, Sidibeh said it is imperative that the necessary funds are made available to enable the team to prepare for training and test matches on time to enable both the team and the country, to get the desired results; that he must hasten to appreciate Government’s contribution to sport development over the years, but that a lot more needs to be done especially on football which involves various stages of the competition to ensure qualification to the finals proper.
“We will continue to be committed to the core mandate of the Ministry of Youth and Sport as the Ministry responsible for sport development, while relying on Government to provide the much-needed funds and the enabling environment for the smooth operations of the National team’s activity”.
When asked the modalities his Ministry has put in place to curb the inadequate funding so that the National Team can perform well in international competitions, Minister Sidibeh responded that he will continue to negotiate with Government to make sure their mindset is changed towards sport for more investment in the area.
The Member for Sabach Sanjal Constituency Ousman Touray, also asked the Minister as to what initiatives his Ministry has to support grass-root sport competitions, especially football and marathon.
In his response to the Member, the Minister said they are working closely with stakeholders to construct sporting facilities and renovate existing ones and to review all sporting policies; that plans are afoot to organize summer sport camps locally and internationally.
“In addition, my Ministry is closely working with the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance to engage a Spanish Company to construct six new mini stadium across the country, to strengthen sport at the grass-root level and to expand the Independence Stadium to a capacity of 60,000 spectators,” he said; adding that it is anticipated that works on these projects will begin in the second quarter of 2020.