BANJUL, April 24, 2019 – For 10 years running, The Gambia National Sports Awards Night organised by the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) has been ‘the sports actors’ party’.
Hundreds of people from within and outside the tiny West African nation gathered at one of the country’s hotels, Coco Ocean, to witness and celebrate sports heroes and heroines for their incredible performance in 2018.
Dignitaries Prominent among the attendees were, the First Lady of The Gambia, Madam Fatou Bah-Barrow, Senegalese Sports Minister Matar Ba, The Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambedou, sports journalists from the Senegalese Sports Press Association, and the Senegalese High Commissioner to The Gambia, Saliou Njie.
Milestone It was the 10th edition of the sports awards, which is now the country’s most respected and credible National Sports Awards. Launched in 2007 by the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG), the initiative “National Sports Awards” is meant to celebrate, honor and award legends and active sportsmen and women.
This event has over the past nine years witnessed the decoration of many men and women in sports, in a grand style. Three-time “CAF Best Referee Award” winner Papa Gassama is among those that were awarded in the past.
Great impact The event has not only motivated active sportsmen and women, but continues to serve as a source of inspiration for aspiring young sportsmen and women, who are looking up to the awardees as sports role models. The milestone anniversary offers a chance to reflect on the event’s growth and impact.
Senegalese Sports Minister Matar Ba said such event will greatly impact on the development of sports in The Gambia. The Gambia and Senegal are neighboring countries that share a lot in common. Minister Ba, who had earlier met The Gambian President Adama Barrow, applauded the relationship between SJAG and their Senegalese counterpart, ANPS.
Ndey Mariam Njie, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Sports of The Gambia stated: “This initiative will positively contribute in the development of sports in The Gambia.”
Challenges The journey has not been a smooth one, but with the dynamic leadership of the current executive headed by President Musa Sise and those before them, the SJAG has remained steadfast. As difficult as it is, raising the required funds for such an event has been a major challenge, but the support and partnership from individuals and institutions continue to be a driving force.
SJAG President Musa Sise stated: “I want to thank you, all, for honoring our invitation to be with us to celebrate our sports men and women. I want to thank all the individuals and institutions that have supported us. As a professional body, we are committed to continue with the award to better motivate our athletes.”
Veteran sports journalist and honorary life president of SJAG, Pape Saine commended the First Lady of The Gambia for gracing the event. “I want to congratulate all the nominees for their outstanding performance in 2018. I want to salute the SJAG for organising the 10th edition.”
SJAG-ANPS football friendly The relationship between the Gambia and Senegal Sports Press Associations is a model for many countries that are separated by borders. The two associations have enjoyed an enviable friendship. Members of the two associations continue to attend each other’s National Sports Awards.
On the sideline of the event, the two associations played an international friendly, where the host SJAG defeated the visitors ANPS 4-0.
The presidents of the two associations, Mr Musa Sise and Abdoulie Thiam have expressed their commitment to further strengthen the ties.
SJAG Awards Nominees and winners
Best Female Team of The Year
Red Scorpions Football Team (Winner)
Armed Forces Volleyball Team
GAF Beach Volleball Team
Best Female Coach
Mariama Sallah- National Athletics Team (Winner)
Chorro Mbenga- Red Scorpions Female Football Team
Mariama Bom Sowe- National Female Team
Outstanding Senior School in Sports
Bottrop Senior School (Winner)
The Gambia Senior School
Essau Senior School
Male Coach of The Year
Saul Kuyateh- 1st Division Side Gamtel/Gamcel (Winner)
Matarr Mboge- National U-20 Coach
Pa Barrow- Coach, National Beach Volleyball Team
Best Referee of the Year
Lamin N Jammeh (Winner)
Best Female Athlete
Adama Tamba- Red Scorpions’ FC(Winner)
Abie Kujabi- GAF Volleyball
Ola Buwaro- Athlete
Best Male Team of the Year
2018 U-20 WAFU Team- WAFU Champions (Winner)
Gamtel- 2018 League Champions
SK East Male Volleyball Team- Volleyball Champs
Best Local-based Athlete
Adama Tamba – Red Scorpions Female Team
Bubacarr Jallow- Gamtel FC
Abdoulie Ndow alias Hoyantan- Wrestler of Club Ndongo Ceesay(Winner)
Best Foreign-Based Athlete
Omar Colley- Sampdoria (Winner)
Faye Njie- Judoka (Finland)
Musa Barrow- Atlanta (Italy)
Sports Personality of the Year
Lamin Kaba Bajo, President of The Gambia Football Federation was crowned with the “Sports Personality of the Year” accolade, in recognition of his achievements as GFF President.
There were special awards for Beach Volleyball as a breakthrough sport, and Gambian Coach Tapha Manneh in Liberia.
Also among those that received honorary awards at the glamorous event were, UK-based Former Gambia’s Sprinter Nusrat Ceesay, Ex-Gambian International Football Cherno Samba, Senegalese Sports Journalists Association (ANPS), Former FIFA Referee Modou Sowe, Real De Banjul President Willy Abraham, Senegalese Sports Minister Matar Ba, and Ex-Gambia Football Association Secretary General Jammeh EK Bojang.