The Struggle to Preserve a Football Field: Youth Advocate for the Protection of Farato Football Field

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This is the Farato Football Field, which the youth fear may be taken from them.

By: Alieu Ceesay

Ousainu Fofana, a youthful leader from the Farato Community, is poised at the brink of the football field that has served as a haven for him and his peers. This verdant stretch has been more than a recreational area; it has been integral to their development, steering them clear of drugs and unlawful pursuits, but the field is in jeopardy, and Ousainu and fellow young community members are battling to preserve it.

“The football field is crucial to the youth of these kabilos,” Ousman explains passionately. “It has bonded us strongly and helped many young people stay away from drugs and illegal activities.”

Each morning, the young people from AMRC Kabilo, California, Sanchaba, and Santayallah in Farato arise with apprehension. Their cherished field is being repurposed for a new school, and a resolution has been passed without their consent or participation.

“We were shocked and disappointed that the only land we had hope for is being turned into a school,” Ousman recounts. “We’re not against the school’s construction but insist that the football field remains separate. This separation is vital to avoid conflicts in the future between the school and our communities because lessons cannot be going on while you have football activities happening.”

The young people feel neglected and overlooked by those in power. The construction started suddenly, without any advance warning or discussion, causing bewilderment and resentment among the community members.

“The field is not being sold but taken away to build a school. None of us were informed about this change; we woke up one day to see construction starting inside the field,” Fofana says, his frustration evident.

Efforts to voice concerns have faced intimidation. A community elder has even threatened to involve the anti-crime unit. Ironically, the proposed plans depict the football field on a parcel of land that has been sold and developed, contributing to the confusion and misinformation.

“One person tried to intimidate us by threatening to bring the anti-crime unit because they believe they are right,” Fofana reveals. “Ironically, the football ground shown in the plan is on a different part of the land that has already been sold and built upon.”

Despite these challenges, the youth remain resolute. They see the preservation of the football field as a non-negotiable aspect of their community’s well-being and future.

“The only solution we see is to keep the football field separate from the school,” Fofana states firmly. “This is crucial because the youth are today’s leaders and play a vital role in maintaining peace and security in our state.”

As bulldozers approach their beloved field, Fofana and his companions stand firm. They implore the authorities to rethink their decision and devise a solution that preserves the school and the football field, safeguarding a crucial area that promotes unity, well-being, and optimism among Farato’s youth.

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