By: Pa Barrow
In the 21st century, the Gambia remains one of the few countries in the world to have played its league matches without a proper football ground. This causes a delay in the progress of the country’s top-flight football as only three training parks are been used to host all the league games for both the first and second divisions.
The country’s only Stadium which has been referred to both by CAF and FIFA as unfit to host matches is under rehabilitation and the Gambia Football Federation cannot still complete the renovation of some parks for three years now and still counting.
The lack of playing grounds caused massive frustrations among coaches in the National Division One League, who called on the Football Federation to come up with a proper solution to fix the mini stadiums within the Greater Banjul Area to allow the league to continue as planned.
Modou Lamin Nyassi, Brikama United head coach said it is a cause for concern in the country.
“The authorities have to do everything possible to fix the current situation if we are serious about football development. We need to have standard footballing pitches throughout the country as football can no be developed without proper playing ground, he stated”
Former Gambia International and current head coach of Banjul United Sheikh Adama Joof also joined the crusade to challenge the unavailability of playing grounds. He said ‘the pace at which the league is going is very slow, noting that this is due to the lack of playing grounds in the country.’
“It is disheartening to see things like this still happening in our football at this day and age. We have to be serious about our football because so many people rely on football as their carrier. Authorities should consider that our profession is at risk as coaches, without football there will be no coaches and the carriers of players should be properly looked at as well,” he pointed out.
Currently, there are only two pitches within the Greater Banjul Area that are available for both first and second division matches as well as the Women’s national league, and the one in Jarra Soma is only used when the teams in those regions are playing.
The massive infrastructural failure on the side of the Federation calls for concern as millions of dollars have been pumped into the country for project development. But the infrastructural structure of The Gambia remains one of the worst across the globe.