Sports Minister Acknowledges Gambia’s Need For New Stadium, Shares Opinion on Tom’s Long Absence in the Gambia 

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he Minister of Youth & Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie

By Lamin Fadera

 The Minister of Youth & Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie, has explained his plans to build a new stadium in the Gambia which he said will be a legacy project but outlined that the funds required to develop a stadium are out of reach for now. 

When asked by Alkamba Times Sports whether the Gambia needs a new stadium, Minister Badjie said:

“We need a new stadium. That’s the reality; the government has been looking at different options. It is a bit more difficult because of the economic situation of the country and the other priorities if you are going to list them in terms of hierarchy. But I, as the Minster of Sports currently and the president, would wish that we build a second stadium for this country. And that would remain a legacy even if we are no longer in the position,” Badjie told Alkamba Times sports.

He added that when something becomes necessary, it is no longer a luxury but wanting to get it done, which will benefit the sports sector, especially football. 

He said the land is already available, and the plan for a new 30,000 stadium is available, but lack of financial muscle is the challenge they face.

Minister Badjie emphasized that even if the Gambia desired to build a new stadium with a smaller capacity of 25 to 30,000, it would cost the country at least a minimum of 6 billion dalasi. In budget terms, the Gambia needs such a sports budget.

He said they are negotiating with different partners, expecting a guest visiting the Gambia in two weeks for infrastructural projects, and the stadium will be part of the discussion.

Tom Saintfet’s absence in the Gambia since 2021

Following Gambia’s exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, Coach Tom Saintfeit has yet to come to the Gambia since December 2021, when they left for the AFCON.

Reacting to that, Hon. Badjie said that is not the best practice and would like to see him return if the Gambia books qualifications for the second time.

“Well, that is not the best practice to say it openly, is not the best practice, that is not what we expect. He is a coach for the Gambia; occasionally coming back will be good, especially after the last AFCON when the team concluded the tournament in Cameron.

He should have come with them before leaving. The other problem is about understanding. The players who are playing in the current national team are playing in Europe. So he reacted if he came here, he might probably be coming for a holiday and Virtually not doing anything”.

Badjie highlighted that the most significant is for him to help the Gambia book another Cup of Nation qualification for Ivory Coast 2023.

“I think at the moment what is important for us is for the coach to continue to do well and give us second qualifications to the AFCON as a country, and history will remember him for that as well.”

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