Search for women’s football talents begins across schools in Gambia

Alieu Ceesay, AIPS Member
BANJUL, January 31, 2019 – The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has launched what it calls, “women talent search at schools’ level” with the objective of unearthing new talents that would represent the country at both national and international levels.

Women football in the tiny West African Nation is gradually growing with both first and second division leagues successfully running. However, just as their male counterpart, turnout at league matches is not something to be celebrated about.

This undertaken, according the Football Federation, came at the backdrop of the long-awaited Memorandum of Understanding signed between the GFF and the Gambia’s Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) early January.

As per the agreement of the MoU, the implementing partners will coordinate and lay down policies while the Regional Education Offices, Primary Schools Football Associations and the Department of Youth and Sports will take care of the operational aspects of the partnership. It also further identifies the roles and responsibilities of both the GFF and MoBSE as the two parties relate to the implementation of joint programmes and activities in school football.

The parties will also ensure that programmes and activities are conducted in compliance with all applicable football laws, rules, and regulations.

“The MoU is meant to enhance grassroots football development at schools, and the first talent search was administered on Wesley Lower Basic School at the Banjul Mini Stadium. Twenty-Five (25) girls were grouped in sets and allowed to play amongst themselves by using only half the size of a standard football pitch. At the end of the session, a selection was done for the finest players who will later be joined by another selection of players from similar talent searches to be conducted within schools in the Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Regions,” the GFF said on its website (www.gff.gm).

The last time The Gambia participated in a major women football competition was in 2012 when the country’s U-17 side participated in the U-17 World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan. As newcomers, The Gambia bowed out in the group stage.

The search, the Federation says, is earmarked for the GFF to groom players at their tender age and to inculcate in them the basic skills of football in the form of a festival so as to help harness talents ahead of major cadet competitions. The scouting mission is coordinated by the Director of The Gambia-German Football Development Programme, Monika Staab with support from the GFF Technical Department and facilitated by the GFF’s appointed Regional Coaches.

Development of women’s football is said to be among the top agendas of the Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo led Executive Committee in the course of its programme implementation as GFF prides itself for the giant strides it achieved in its development and hence it’s securing of the world acclaimed Women’s Football expert Monika Staab for a two-year period with the task to improve on the existing achievements.

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