By Alieu Ceesay, Secretary General, SJAG
Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) on Saturday, 17th March 2018, successfully held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Gambia National Olympic Conference Hall in Kanifing.
The AGM was attended by SJAG members and representatives from the GNOC and Gambia Press Union.
The AGM is a constitutional requirement that members shall meet annually for the executive to report back to them on what it has been doing on their behalf.
In his welcoming remarks, the association’s Honorary Life President Pape Saine spoke highly of the importance of organising AGMs, which he said will show to all how transparent the Association is. He commended the Association’s executive members for their honesty and love for the Association, calling on institutions and companies to support the Association.
The veteran sports journalists reminded members of the Association to be united and to be focused even though they are constrained by finance and capacity building. “The profession has grown over the years with increased number of sports journalists.”
Musa Sise, president of the Association reechoed that the AGM is a constitutional requirement where the executive reports back to members on what it had been doing on their behalf. “It is important to know that the operation and functions of SJAG is not the easiest of tasks that anyone would embark on.”
He stated that his executive has been striving continuously to make a difference for the next executive, reminding members of the need to be professionals in their daily work.
Sise also implored Sports Journalists to be active members of the body for the betterment of all, saying they can be critical but they should always promote Gambian sports and athletes positively.
Abdoulie Jallow, Secretary General of The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) said journalists are key partners in national development particularly in sports. He said GNOC will continue to help in building the capacity of sports journalists.
Secretary General of Gambia Press Union Saikou Jammeh said it is important that SJAG as a body is seen holding sports association accountable by setting example in organising the AGM to report to members for review and scrutiny. “GPU is very proud of the Sports Journalists’ Association as one of the most active affiliates in the media industry. We have seen you training your members which is quite key. We have also seen you consistently awarding deserving personalities in the country which is also very important in terms of promoting excellence in sports in the country.”
He said SJAG and GPU shared certain concerns which are capacity building and regulating the media. “We are very happy that SJAG has supported its members to undergo training at the GPU School of Journalism.”
Delivering the Association’s activity report for the year under review, secretary General Alieu Ceesay said they have implemented several activities including the 2017 delayed Annual General Meeting (AGM).
2017 Awards Night
Mr. Ceesay said in what was a night of glamour and glitz reserved to celebrate the country’s heroes and heroines in sports in 2016, they held their 8th National Sports Awards Night at Djembeh Hotel and Spa at Kololi on 28th April 2017.
He said the Gambia’s own three-time Africa Best Referee Award winner Bakary Papa Gassama was crowned Gambia’s Sports Personality of the Year 2016 during the event.
Ceesay said in other categories, sprinter Adama Jammeh won the Best Local-Based Athlete, Omar Colley won the Best Foreign-Based Athlete, Mawdo Jallow won the Best Male Referee, IsatouTouray won the Best Female Referee, GPA won the Best Team Award, GPA Coach Alhagie Sarr was awarded Best Coach of the Year, Sprinter Gina Bass was awarded Best Female Athlete, Fatoumata Sillah won the Emerging Talent Award, and National Female Beach Volleyball Team won the Emerging Team of the Year.
“There was a special award for Paralympian Demba Jarju. There were also honorary posthumous awards to late Alhaji Momodou Dibba, Father Gough, M.I. Jallow and Abdou Shyllon.
Saffie Sanneh, Mam Essa Gaye, Alhagie Nyan, Dembo Jatta, Dadoh Jah and Haddy Sillah-Njie were also honoured for their invaluable contribution to Gambia sports.
80th AIPS Congress in Seoul
He said the Association’s President Musa Sise was in the South Korean city of Seoul for the 80th Congress of the Association of International Press Sport (AIPS). “During the congress, delegates representing national sports associations elected a new president and executive that will steer the affairs of the AIPS for the next four years.
International Sports Journalists’ Day
Mr. Ceesay reported that on 5th August 2017, the Association commemorated the annual International Sports Journalists Day (ISJD) at the Sand Beach Hotel and was wrapped up with the annual fun day out on the beach where members interacted and had fun as members of sports inky fraternity.
He told delegates that in a bid to build the capacity of members, the Association paid the tuition fees for all the SJAG-registered members who were enrolled at the GPU-School of Journalism and Digital Media for Certificate and Diploma courses.
Two of SJAG members, John Mendy and Momodou Gajaga, according SG Ceesay were in Cape Coast, Ghana in September 2017 where they covered the West African Football Union (WAFU) tournament. “Their presence in Ghana was made possible through the partnership between SJAG and Fly Mid Africa. The Association is very much aware of the need to have our members exposed to international competitions and will continue to look for partners to make this happen.”
According to him, a high-powered delegation led by their 1st Vice President Uthman Jeng was also in Dakar in December 2017 to witness the annual awards night organised by their sister association, ANPS. “Other members of the delegation included executive member Babucarr Sey and assistant treasurer Kaddy Cham. SJAG member Sally Jeng was also among the delegation.”
AIPS Africa Congress
Mr. Ceesay said they could not be represented at the December 2017 AIPS Africa Congress in Nairobi as a result of the Air traffic controllers strike at the Dakar Airport. “SJAG was to be represented by the President Musa Sise.”
Secretary General Ceesay said despite the undertakings during the year under review, they are still faced by challenges including their financial status which, he said remains a main hindrance to the implementation of many of their plans.
He expressed hope that members will change their perception towards SJAG and realise that the body does not belong to an individual but for the entire sports journalism fraternity.
Namory Trawally, the Association’s treasurer presented the audited financial statements outlining the income and expenditure of the Association for the year.