The Gambia national team, which recently exited the Africa Cup of Nations at the quarterfinal stages has expressed dissatisfaction over the Gambia Football Federations handling of logistical arrangements for their return to the country.
The team was expected to arrive in Banjul on Monday afternoon after their exit, but no progress has been registered with the Scorpions still stuck in Cameroon.
Some players took to social media to vent their wrath on Kaba Bajo and the coordinating committee.
Ebrima Sohna one of the senior players said ‘this has been going on since 2005 and it must stop now. We don’t want it to happen to the next generation of players.’
“What the Federation is telling people is all fake. They told people in the Gambia that we will arrive at 3 p.m on Monday when the players were not even aware of our travel itinerary back home” he added.
Lamin Jallow another player said the promised bonuses are not even paid yet.
“The 10 thousand dollar bonus they promised at the Round of 16 and the quarter-finals are not paid. We lied to our clubs and some of us will have to pay fines or even lose our contracts when we return’ he said.
According to reports, there are only 15 players in Cameroon as others bought tickets and returned to their clubs.
The remaining players say ‘there is no need for a welcoming event as they might be coming on their own.’
Meanwhile NCC has released a statement on issue blaming the delay in the return of Scorpions fans on the chartered airline.
” The National Co-ordinating Committee wishes to inform the General Public it had in utmost good faith entered into an agreement with two separate agents in the names of AEROWOLD/PFS and JET SPORT EVENTS respectively for the transportation of The Gambia National Team and the Fans/Supporters to Cameroon for the AFCON 2021. These agreements were signed after the completion of bidding process where the two aforementioned companies turned out to be the most responsive bidders.
AEROWOLRD/ PFS was contracted to fly the players from Qatar to Banjul and then Douala on a one-way flight with the understanding that the team may either fly back directly to Europe or back to Banjul depending on their progress in the tournament while JET SPORTS EVENT was contracted to transport the supporters / fans on a separate date. In our agreement with JET SPORTS EVENTS, it was clear that the delegations’ return date to Banjul was subjective to the team’s progress in the tournament but a 48-hour notice was required to have the aircraft ready to fly the delegation back home.”
” Following the team’s exit in the quarterfinals match against Cameroon on Saturday the 29th January, the Logistics Committee immediately informed JET SPORTS EVENTS that the team will leave Douala on Monday the 31st January 2022, not only as per the agreement but also to ensure all our players arrive in Banjul on time to travel to their respective clubs.
We were informed by the chartered flight company that an aircraft will be available on Monday the 31stJanuary 2022 at 11.00am or Mid-day which information was shared with the delegation in Cameroon. The whole day on Sunday the 30th January, the Logistics Committee continued to persistently request for the flight details of the aircraft to depart Douala for Banjul from the chartered flight company but were told that it was a Sunday and they were waiting on securing a flyover permit from Ghana having secured permits from The Gambia and Cameroon. After numerous follow ups and having sensed that the chartered flight company may not have readily brokered a flight to transport the delegation, the NCC took note of the non-lapse of the 48hour period for the chartered flight company to provide us with the flight details but also summoned an emergency NCC meeting under the directives of the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports for members in Limbe to discuss the matter and agree on a way forward.”
” During the said meeting, it was brought to our attention that the Chartered flight company had secured a much small flight that was unable to carry delegation to Banjul with a proposal to leave some passengers and most of the luggages in Limbe for two extra days, or wait an extra day which is Tuesday the 1st February 2022 to have a bigger aircraft to transport all the delegation and luggages. It was unanimously agreed at the said meeting, it was best to wait an extra day and have a bigger aircraft to transport everyone back to Banjul and secondly, the time of departure for the small flight that was being proposed was very late which also means arriving around midnight or 1.00am in Banjul will mean a cancellation of the planned welcome of the players.”
The Football Federation are still yet to make any comment on the issue.