By: Foday Manneh
The founder of Kalilu Jammeh Foundation, Kalilu Jammeh, a migrant returnee, has become the inspiration behind the Real de Banjul Football Club and AE Ramassa International friendly match scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 2023, at 4.00 pm GMT in Brikama Box-bar mini stadium.
Kalilu is reportedly among the first migrants to have traveled to Spain through the irregular route. However, the young man decided to return home years later amidst the abandonment of his village by fellow villagers due to what was alleged to be an impact of climate change.
Kalilu returned and restarted the village again. Now he is the village head, locally called “Alkalo.” And through his foundation, he is offering humanitarian support to villages and underprivileged children, especially orphanages, to help uplift their lives.
The visitors Ramassa is a regional football club in Barcelona, Spain, and also operates as a Non-Governmental Organisation using sports to make social change by supporting solidarity in various African countries, including the Gambia.
The President of AE Ramassa, Pere Bufi Rof, was thrilled with the hospitality received from their Gambian counterparts since their arrival. He expressed optimism over a potential partnership with their host, Real de Banjul.
“This project is all about solidarity with African societies. We have a link with Kalilu Foundation, and that’s the partnership that gave birth to this coming, and we hope it would impact the lives of Gambians,” Mr. Rof said.
“It is not just a trip or a football match; we want to make an impact in The Gambia. I am very impressed by Real de Banjul. There is already a potential link to build a partnership between the two clubs, much more in solidarity. I believe sports can be used to bring social justice to any community,” he added.
Rof also revealed a recent fundraising campaign undertaken by his organization to support the Kalilu Jammeh Foundation in realizing its dreams.
“The organization started a campaign to raise money and support the people of Jirong. We intended to achieve £8000, but we were eventually able to gather more than that. We had more than £10000,”
The Ramassa President said the mobilized funds, which are equivalent to (D570,000) would be donated to the foundation to help improve the lives of the village.
For his own, the President of Real de Banjul football club, William Abraham, acknowledged the work Ramassa is doing in the African continent. He has a vision for a long-term project with the Spanish team.
“We are looking at a long-term relationship. They have done a lot in terms of sports. We want to encourage them to try to develop and see whether they can be involved in the female football sector of Real De Banjul.”
Founded in 1966 — 67, Real de Banjul Football Club started with schoolboys in the capital of the tiny West African country. The team is competing in the Gambia Football Federation League Division One as the most successful club in the country.
The club, a household name across Africa, is pioneering a “ Live Your Dreams” project to discourage irregular migration by empowering youth through education and sports.