By: Ebrima KB Sonko
The head coach of Kuteh Jombulu Football Club, Ebrima Manneh, has moaned about the unavailability of a standard football pitch in Basse, the administrative capital of the Upper River Region (URR) of the Gambia.
Coach Manneh made this claim amid a string of poor away results by the Basse-based football club in the Gambia Football Federation Division 2.
Kuteh Jumbulu is currently occupying the bottom-of-the-table standings in the second tier of Gambian football with just five points after ten matches.
Ebrima Manneh, the gaffer of the URR boys, told The Alkamba Times Sports that his side is likely to continue struggling due to the long travels and the absence of a standard field in Basse which forces Kutteh Jumbulu to play their matches in either Jarra Soma or in the Kombos.
“Any team that comes from Basse will struggle like Kuta. Last year Wagadu FC was here, and they couldn’t make it, and we are here, too, struggling. So authorities should ensure a good ground at Basse; if not, it will be difficult for teams from Basse.”
“We need to have a ground at Basse whereby we can also play our home games, but we didn’t have that, so we have to play our home matches in Jarra Soma or the Kombos. It is challenging, which is the primary reason we are struggling. Looking at the size of the players, they’re young, so they couldn’t cope with the difficulty of traveling from Basse, Jarra Soma, to Kombos,” Ebrima Manneh said.
Basse and the lower River Region commercial hub, Jarra Soma, is about 89 miles, while the distance between Basse and Brikama is 340 km. The Kuteh Jumbulu coach said traveling has contributed to their lackluster performance in the league.
“Everybody knows that we do not have a home ground. So, for every game, we must travel to Jarra Soma or the Kombos, which takes stalls on us. Sometimes we reach Kombos around midnight and travel back to Basse after our matches. So it is very tough for my players and me.” he added.
What Have The Authorities Been Saying?
On October 22nd, 2022, Abdourahman Barry, the Secretary General of the Basse Regional Football Association (URRFA), revealed to Alkamba Times Sports that the Gambia Football Federation had secured funds for the construction of a football field in Basse.
“The Gambia Football Federation has secured USD$200,000 (equivalent to 11,120,000 Gambian Dalasis) as support from Saudi Arabia to construct a football stadium in URR,” Abdourahman confirmed.
Baboucarr Camara, the Communication Director of the Gambia Football Federation, said constructing a playable football field at each region is part of Lamin Kaba Bajo’s led executive agenda.
“It is part of our commitment to ensure at least one good playing field is in each provincial region before the end of the current term of Team Kaba, but the deal isn’t complete yet.” The GFF Communication Director revealed this to The Alkamba Times Sports when the news broke out in October 2022 that the Saudis Football Authorities are in talks to finance a mini stadium in Nyakoi, Upper River Region.
TAT Sports contacted Baboucarr Camara, the Communication Director of the Gambia Football Federation, for news about the proposed mini stadium in Nyakoi but for more than a week, he has yet to be able to furnish our reporter with any development.