By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Six months after organising and presenting awards to the deserving footballers playing in the country at the end of last season, the Gambia Football Players Association has still not given the money they promised the players. This has raised concern among the awarded players recently.
On 2nd October 2021 at Pancha Mi Hall, The Gambia Football Players Association came together to organise an award night for the home-based players after the end of the Gambia Football Federation Division One League and two in both the male and female categories. This was welcome by a cross-section of football zealots. Different awards were created and different players won different awards.
The players Association wrote to different institutions and assured the nominees that each award would have a sponsor and the awards will be accompanied by a cash prize. However, for six months, only the goalkeeper of the season for both male and female first division leagues received the cash prize.
According to four of the players who were awarded in the night but beg for anonymity, the Players Association executives promised that they will give them the money in the second week of October noting that most of the institutions that were supposed to give them money were not on the ground but will give them money.
“Before the event started, they called all of us (players) inside. They told us that most of the institutions that were going to give us the cash as sponsors were not around and that they were going to give us the money a week after that. We were all shocked but because we trusted them, we nodded our heads and the award night went on,” this player told TFN.
One of them told this medium that they lost the trust in the association and didn’t believe they will be given their money. He said that this action is demotivating the players.
” I am disappointed with the organising committee because what they told us was lies and dramas like anyone who won …… of the season will receive some cash. people voted and I don’t receive even one single hundred dalasis from them”, a disappointed player explained to TFN.
He said he can not believe that there was no money because there were voting and GSM companies partnered with them.
However, the President of the association John Bass said the executive didn’t outline any specific amount that will be given to the winners.
The Fatu Network understands that only the best goalkeeper award winner in the male and female league one received their cash prize of ten thousand dalasis from Enterprise Life.
On the night of April 24th, the awarded players called for a meeting in their WhatsApp group to voice out their frustration over the lack of communication from the Players Association executives since after the award night.
Reacting to the concerns and worries of the players, Dodou Janko, the Secretary-General of the association admitted that they promised the players of cash but couldn’t fulfil it.
“We didn’t have what we had expected. We came at a loss which means our expectations surpassed our income. Give us time and we will discuss this at our executive level”, he told the players in a WhatsApp group through a voiced note received by this medium.
He promised these concerned players that they will discuss their issue in their executive meeting.
However, the president told TFN that their focus now is to go on a tour and meet with the players first.
“For now we are focused on the tour to meet them (players) and the to resume the monthly awards”, Bass said.
According to the President, they could not get the money because most institutions failed to chip in after receiving positive responses from them. He explained that they will do something.
“But we still want to put up something for them”, he asserted.
It is not still clear if the players association will fulfil their promises to these players. Already, the players that spoke to TFN lost trust in the executive and have no hope of getting the money.