Banjul KG5 renovations, poor turf expose Bakary Jammeh, and GFF failed projects

KG5 Mini Stadium , Banjul

The KG5 dilemma shows the failure of the federation’s 14-pitch intervention by FIFA. One may argue that it’s the municipality’s responsibility to manage the parks together with the sports committee; that’s correct. The problem lies when the federation drags FIFA, collects funds under the pretext of renovating football fields (pitch, perimeter fences, and dressing rooms), and fails to complete it in the stated time frame, blaming one contractor for another.

It has left committees in a state of bewilderment because they halt their work, believing in the federation project, which only adds confusion, embezzlement of funds, and failed promises. “It’s not our core mandate.” Emphasised Bakary Jammeh, but then you can’t steal someone’s designs and projects and present them to FIFA; most of the projects are just quantity, with many lacking quality.

For Gunjur and Busumbala, they have already given up on their mini stadium. Serekunda East has decided not to wait on the federation and they are making things happen on their own.

When work is in progress, especially at the KG5, we look for other adventures and locations for league matches. In Banjul, it’s not only the artificial turf that is deteriorating, but the whole vicinity is toxic to Division One and Division Two players. Coaches sitting under the scorching sun, referees changing openly without privacy, no dressing room or rest room for teams.

The Qcity Ground, Superstars Academy Field in Kitty, and the Live Your Goals Complex at Basori have all once been used by the federation for league matches. 

It’s hard to believe the GFF spent 616 million dalasis in the last 4 years, and close to 10 million dalasis was spent by the GFF to renovate the artificial turf at Banjul KG5. The renovation took place less than two years ago and now needs a new renovation as the edifice is deterioting.

Bringing the editorial conclusion that the ground is unfit to host matches. Team after team and player after player are continuously raising their voices about the risk of that poor artificial turf, which has been laid for less than two years.

Reports and surveys have it on record that almost 15 players got serious injuries from that poor ground. But the technocrats at the football house care less; they will be driving all the way to Jarra Soma to visit the site project, but parks that are at arm’s length are not interested. 

The Goal project is worse than most of these grounds, meaning that if they fail to develop their own, they will only milk money from kickbacks on the grounds. Often, when the sports section carries an editorial, the minister or football house will cry for their side of the story. We don’t want commentary; we want evidence and actions.

There is no malice in this publication without representing the voiceless footballers and referees. Videos and pictures circulating only make it hard to defend the undefendable. Therefore, how can Lamin Jassey or Bakary Jammeh lecture us about FIFA projects and funds? Some things are not just acceptable. 

We have females’ entourages accompanying these teams that need their privacy whenever they go to match venues. ‘

“Good pitches lead to good performances, and bad pitches lead to bad performances” Kaba Bajo stated, then why no reaction towards the KG5 from the football house.

BST striker Alieu Jammeh joins a host of players in his dissatisfaction. “It is indeed a very big risk to play in Banjul KG5, and GFF has to do something to protect their future national and professional assets. After every game on this field, you count injuries, and so many players are having setbacks in their careers with some quitting the game because of poor ground. I hope they can help us, the players, provide good grounds.

Anonymous contributor

“The kg5 mini stadium is one of the football fields that has to be banned by FF for very obvious reasons. The turf is worn out beyond repair or maintenance, and this is causing serious injuries to players. Also, it affects player performance; players can’t perform to the standard or level expected. To avoid career-threatening injuries, the venue should be banned with immediate effect. We can’t wait till something serious happens before we act, and I think clubs must work together on this course.

Banjul Sports Secretary Dodou Janko refutes claims and insists that KG5 is better than the rest.

Falcons v Waa Banjul at the KG5

“We all knew the turf was not good from infancy. Our knowledge about turf wasn’t that wide. When we played for six to seven months, we saw it was wrecking. Because it was not of good quality. They brought us a very bad quality. We are still negotiating with the GFF to replace the turf as soon as possible. The ground is poor, but it’s playable, though it’s not good for the safety of the players. I can mention three to four grounds that are hosting GFF league matches, and the KG5 is quite better than them. We are renovating the dressing rooms, which will soon be completed. That’s why teams do go and change at Muslim High School. We made temporary dressing rooms. The public toilets have been renovated too and will soon be open to the public. We are demarcating the park, and in the same vein, we are building a mini-store. The GFF felt the renovation could go along with the matches being played.

We cannot sell bad images of our country; football has massively developed in the context that the Gambia is exporting lots of players. Every week or month, there are a host of scouts in the country scouting for massive talents. Which football fields do we take to or show them? The worst of it is the games we stream via FIFA streaming.

We all ought to be good ambassadors and deliver on our promises, and history will judge the Kabba administration for failing to deliver these projects across the country.

From FIFA 2.0 back in 2019, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) signed formal contracts with construction and electrical companies on Thursday, February 28, 2019, for the award of football fields’ development and upgrading of its facilities across the country. but we are still here, struggling.

We can’t still be struggling after the federation claimed that they built 14 pitches (natural and artificial grass) and renovated one playing surface.

For the sake of transparency, we urge the federation to update us on the Basang Mini Stadium sponsored by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Nyakoi Kerewan Mini Stadium sponsored by Saudi Arabia.

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Baboucarr Fallaboweh
Baboucarr Fallaboweh Sports Editor (Buba Jallow Fallaboweh) is a Gambian football expert, football analyst & columnist. The Stockholm-based Journalist is a media officer, football Scout, PR, Influencer and Digital creator. I started my journalism career as a football analyst in 2012 with Vibes FM and went on to work with CityLimit, West Coast, Hot FM, Freedom Radio, Eye Africa and Afri Radio as a content producer and presenter. In 2013, I attended Football Daily on the BBC SPORTS where we discussed the different styles of Football played in Africa. I Went on to freelance for The Point Newspaper, Freedom Newspaper, Daily Observer and Standard Newspaper before being appointed as Sports Editor with the Alkamba Times in March 2022.  I have worked for Magazines like Glo Magazine and Foot54 covering Gambian football and African Football.   Between 2020 -2021 I worked as a scout for the Gambia Football Federation, scouting talents for the U17 &U20.  From 2017 to 2021, I served as Media officer for GFF First division teams Team Rhino and Marimoo and also as media Officer of Banjul FC, fourth Division tier in Sweden and Darboe’s FC (Female second division club in the Gambia). I served as a PR for Superstars Academy.   With Afrencon, I was a data analyst before I joined LightHouse as a head scout for the Gambia project. In organizational structures, I served as the ambassador of the John Bass Kidney Foundation and one of the founders of the foundation creating kidney awareness in the Gambia.   I also served two positions in the Gambian organization in Sweden, as Sports chairman and the secretary of the associations.   After 12 years of being a football journalist, I was named 3rd best sports column writer in Africa year 2021 by the reputable sports media organization AIPS. I finished in the top 35 in the world with my article titled Back way: Gambian footballers in deadly Voyage to Europe.   With over 500 articles and interviews, analysis, profiling, features and news, I was shortlisted for the Gambia Press Union National Journalist Award 2022. I submitted the article which was co-written alongside Momodou Bah From Living Through Despair to Being An Agent Of Hope, The Inspiring Story Of John Bass.   I have served as an advisers to Football academies, clubs, and players and others. I have hosted dozens of shows and was invited as a guest on both radio, TV and the online press. I also covered the Gambia's maiden AFCON debut in 2021 in Cameroon.  


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