Lamin Kaba Bajo, GFF President

By: Yahya Sanneh,  a Concerned Gambian Football Stakeholder

Dear Famara Badjie, I’ve read your opinion piece on the widely read Alkamba Times Newspaper with utter dismay and concern about how an oftentimes measured young man like you will go into an unnecessary disrespectful rant against the person of the President of The Gambia Football Federation Mr. Lamin Kabba Bajo. 

It baffles me how you and your medium continue to distort the facts stated in Mr. Bajo’s speech. Mr. Bajo never said that GRTS do not cover their league matches, but rather he said your cameras are everywhere but hardly are your reports featured on primetime news and that’s a hard fact. 

Instead of taking it to the shin and accepting your failure in not giving adequate attention to the national league as one of your key obligations as a national broadcaster under the payroll of the taxpayer, you’re allowing yourself to be involved in a futile battle for an institution that continues to fail the public since inception. 

Otherwise, why are you referred to in many quarters as Get Ready to Sleep.

But I got it, this whole storm in a teacup is just directed at the wrong people. Everyone knows that the target wasn’t the GFF but the fact that it was Eye Africa that was chosen for this project instead of GRTS. It’s clear to everyone after Eye Africa’s intervention on Sports File on West Coast Radio on Monday that the GFF didn’t even participate in the selection of Eye Africa in this project but the organizers, Eleven Sports, who had done their research about them and selected them based on their indelible track record, competence and capacity. Don’t you think if the national broadcaster had such a reputation or capacity, they wouldn’t have been identified for this? Come on let’s be honest.

In hindsight, did you even listen to your boss Baboucarr Senghore rambling and struggling to coherently answer certain questions from Peter Gomez when asked what specifically GRTS requested from the GFF to broadcast its domestic league matches. 

Even his assertion that the league is shown on primetime news now and then is a validation of Kabba’s point. You do not attend management meetings because you’re a very junior officer in the cadre but Senghore himself admitted these meetings started even before Kabba took over more than eight years ago. Why didn’t the GRTS refute the claims from the GFF that the national broadcaster requested them to purchase you an outside broadcasting (OB) van? They’ve said this in the press release they issued since Saturday but we’re yet to see any rebuttal of that and wouldn’t that be interpreted as silence meaning consent? 

One would’ve thought that the GRTS would now be involved in acquiring the required capacity to serve as the host broadcaster for our National Teams’ homes matches. Your failure to do this, because of the lack of capacity, is seeing this task delegated top foreign broadcasters and that’s making both the GRTS and GFF lose thousands of very valuable dollars.

Despite the oftentimes negative reports by your Head of Sports, Momodou S. Jallow, towards GFF activities, GRTS continues to receive preferential treatment from the Federation as their official vehicles would pick and drop you off for you to provide coverage for their activities and even at international travels you’re embedded in their delegations at the expense of the FA. 

Perhaps you should ask your Director General why he called and admitted to Eye Africa that he doesn’t have a clue about the whole thing but rather it was Baboucarr Senghore who wrote your unfortunate press release. Senghore’s detest for this current administration is common knowledge and those of us involved in football do not expect anything good to come from him when it comes to Football House.

May I tell you that indeed it is an election year but Kabba doesn’t need you or any journalist to sing his praises for his work over the last eight years has done his campaign already? Can’t you see, even though it’s barely three months to our Elective Congress where he is seeking his final term, he has yet to start his official campaign? Shouldn’t that mean something to you?

Are you even aware that since he took over the mantle of leadership in 2014, there was no term limit in the GFF Constitution; he introduced a two-term limit and we the stakeholders have seen the remarkable strides made in Gambian football, especially for being the first GFF President to oversee Scorpions’ qualification to the AFCON. Unfortunately for most of you, who are naïve to innocently fall for the false narratives created by uninformed people against Mr. Bajo and his group, it is us the stakeholders who would decide the fate of Gambian football leadership for the next four years and we already know where our votes are going.

Under Mr. Bajo’s leadership, we the clubs have never paid a single registration fee, and not only that they give us preparatory financial support and on top of all that they give us transport costs to play our league matches in Basori and Jarra Soma. It is also under his tenure that football achieved absolute decentralization with every region now represented in the national league unlike before when there were ghost clubs across the country that only converge every four years to elect GFF Presidents. There is a third-division league everywhere now. 

The GFF is accountable to us its members and we scrutinize every action of theirs but from 2014 to date, we’ve never found them wanting for the false allegations people are making against them. Any day that he is found wanting, I’ll be the first to openly go against him publicly and he knows that because he’s aware of what type of a person I’m.

Finally, I’ve some brotherly advice for you Mr. Badjie; the words you used against Mr. Bajo are unfortunate, disrespectful, and unbecoming of a young man who has been given proper home training. We’re talking about a great statesman here who has represented his country with honor and dignity and thus he deserves some respect.

Have a blessed night!

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