Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

As Burkina Faso Goes To Nations Cup Final

February 7, 2013

EX-GAMBIA COACH PROVES HIS WORTH

 

Burkina Players Jubilating/Picture AP

Burkina Players Jubilating/Picture AP

Coach Paul Put

Coach Paul Put is basking in glory as he watched his team thrash Black Stars of Ghana. 

 

Burkina Faso beat Ghana on penalties to reach its first African Cup final in a stunning upset on Wednesday, coming from behind to draw 1-1 after 120 minutes and then eliminating the four-time champion 3-2 in the shootout in Nelspruit, South Africa.

Three Ghanaians missed their spot kicks, with Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite pulling off the decisive save from Emmanuel Agyemang Badu to send the underdogs through to Sunday’s final against Nigeria at Soccer City, having only ever made it past the group stage once before.

“When we arrived in this competition, the only person who believed in us was our coach,” Burkina Faso captain Charles Kabore said.

The Burkinabes didn’t even need to take their last kick as Ghana’s players came up short at the end, having led the second semifinal through Wakaso Mubarak’s 13th-minute penalty.

But playing in just its second semi and first in 15 years, Burkina Faso dragged itself back into the game with Aristide Bance’s equalizer in the 60th and then unleashed a succession of attacks against the fading Ghanaians in extra time at Mbombela Stadium.

Bance went close a number of times, while Burkina Faso also had a goal disallowed, was denied what appeared to be a penalty when Jonathan Pitroipa went down in the area in the 117th minute, and often fell on the wrong side of Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi’s decisions.

Instead of a spot kick, Pitroipa was shown a second yellow card for diving and sent off. Burkina Faso still emerged victorious from the shootout to howls of approval from the crowd, which had adopted the team after it played its entire tournament in Nelspruit leading up to the final.

“I was very upset during the game, very angry with the decisions of the referee,” winning coach Paul Put said. “It was difficult to control myself. But like I said to the players at halftime, we don’t need the referee to win today. For me, it’s a great victory.”

Ghana’s African Cup struggles continue

While Burkina Faso celebrated its biggest footballing achievement on any stage, Ghana again missed out painfully at the African Cup. It last won the title in 1982 and has now made three semifinals and a final in the last four tournaments, only to fail in each.

“We are really sad at the moment … what else can I say?” captain Asamoah Gyan said.

The loss appeared to be too much for Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah, who didn’t attend the post-match news conference.

“We cannot find any excuses,” Gyan said. “I think the better side won. We lost on a penalty shootout. The luckier side won.”

Defender Isaac Vorsah screwed the first penalty of the shootout badly wide and Emmanuel Clottey also saw his go past the left post. Agyemang Badu had the decisive and devastating miss when Diakite guessed right and pushed the ball away to begin Burkina Faso’s wild celebrations.

“Surprises are always there,” Put said, comparing his team to the Zambians that won the title over Ivory Coast 12 months ago. “Maybe this time is our time.”

Much earlier, Wakaso swept in his third goal from the spot at this tournament for Ghana’s early lead, but Bance pounced on a defensive error from the Ghanaians to claim a popular equalizer.

Bance also had a powerful header saved on the line in the 53rd and Gyan hit the post for Ghana five minutes later — and two minutes before Burkina Faso struck back when Ghana lost possession deep in its half and Bance took his opportunity to shoot past Fatawu Dauda.

The outstanding Bance should have won it for Burkina Faso in the 102nd minute as he beat two defenders and carved open a chance, only to send his shot over the crossbar.

Burkina Faso had its goal ruled out contentiously in the 105th — right on halftime in extra time — when Prejuce Nakoulma was adjudged to have fouled a defender before poking the ball over Dauda and into the net.

Coach Put was furious with the Tunisian referee’s decision then and even angrier after Pitroipa’s red card.

With Ghana reeling, Bance missed two more chances in extra time before another effort was stopped on the line by defender Harrison Afful, who crouched to use his knees to somehow deflect a goalbound volley up and over the bar and to safety.

Gyan missed with a header in the 119th and soon after Pitroipa was red-carded in the final minutes of the pulsating and nerve-racking semifinal, which still had time for Bance to see a shot deflected away in the last act of open play before the shootout.

Courtesy of Associated Press

 

Nanama’s Beef With Ex-Sports Minister

February 5, 2013

“I HAVE BEEN VINDICATED”

 

By Nanama Keita

Nanama Keita

Nanama Keita

In early 2008, I fractured a relationship with a sports minister to help secure the service of a coach that would today guide Burkina Faso to the African Nations Cup semi-finals.

Paul Put had arrived in Gambia sometime in April 2008 with hopes of inking a permanent deal as the Gambia’s coach. It was just a month before the start of Gambia’s joint qualifier campaign for the 2010 World Cup & Nations Cup finals. At this time, the then Seedy Kinteh-led GFA Executive had made up its mind to snatch the coach at any cost, but the sport ministry, which was to shoulder the coach’s salary, was adamant.

A ride to the GFA office saw me bumped into the coach with Seedy Kinteh, who would later introduce me to the Belgian, flattering me with a ‘top sport journalist’ tag. Kinteh’s introductory remarks and thoughts that I could be useful in securing the coach’s signing saw I and Paul Put wrap-up our first meeting as best of friends (as if I was going to be his assistant coach ). Right from there and cognizant of the fact that the Gambia couldn’t have afforded to lose out on a coach of his calibre, and more so when the sport ministry was reluctant to hire him, I put into play some bit of advocacy journalism. Two straight publications introducing the coach as the right candidate for the Gambia saw the then sports minister, Axi Gai, reached out to me with an emphatic charge – which his ministry won’t put its money into a coach once involved in a match-fixing scandal. I knew he’d an agenda, but was using the coach’s past record as the basis to pursue his agenda. The sport minister said his words were not for publication, but that he was merely informing me of his stand on the Belgian tactician. I took him for his words, but if anything, that foot-dragging statement from the minister only helped fan my advocacy campaign for the coach and GFA – purely out of national interest.

Weeks passed by and a break-through was to come. The then GFA No.2 who had doubled as chief of Gambian army, General Langtombong Tamba, was able to get President Jammeh to personally endorse the coach, after by-passing the adamant sport ministry. The President agreed to foot the coach’s transport and accommodation bills while Telecom giants Africell agreed to pay for his two-year salary. A deal was sealed. So when I broke the news every Gambia football fan had been waiting for – the signing of the coach after the president’s intervention – it didn’t take hours before the sport minister come to me running, only that this time, he had a different tone on the same subject.

Minister Gai asked me to help run a story quoting him that his ministry had always been in the forefront in ensuring that we signed the coach, and that they were in talks with some corporate companies to step in as sponsors for the coach’s salary. I knew the minister was just throwing bait, but both I and him knew that it was too cheap for me to fall for it. I reminded him of our one-on-one conversation a week earlier when he said “We’re not going to put our money into a coach that was involved in match-fixing scandal”. I would later refuse Minister Gai’s solemn request before telling him that the president’s personal involvement must have triggered his hundred-and-ninety degrees sudden shift of position. It was the last straw that would end our already strained relationship. In that year, Paul Put didn’t qualify the Gambia to the World Cup nor to the Nations Cup, but that qualifying campaign remains Scorpions’ best qualifying run ever – knocking out bitter rivals Senegal in their group before a two-goal deficit separated them from earning a spot in the 2010 Nations Cup finals.

Two years later, the same sport ministry that jettisoned the Seedy Kinteh-led Executive from office, fired the coach on reasons best known to them. I’m not saying Gambia would’ve been where Burkina is today if Paul Put had stayed (for even Josè Mourinho can’t fix Gambia’s football problem in a year or two), but we’re wrong to let him go at that crucial stage. But again, see how some setbacks would come to you as blessings in disguise. If Paul Put had not been kicked out of Gambia at that time, he might well not be in South Africa today pipping at Africa’s most coveted football trophy from such a close range. I think I could also borrow a lesson from Paul Put’s case…. After what had started as an unending night for me in the mosquito-infested and windowless cells in Banjul I would later end with a one-way trip to the world’s freest nation – United States of America (laugh). Good luck, Paul Put!

 

Fight Over Cash-Strapped GFA Begins

December 18, 2012

HALA SAMBA AND MOMODOU MUSA

 ENTER BATTLE FOR PRESIDENCY

 

Halla

Adama Halla Samba

The coffers of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) may be running dry but that does not mean the fight to control the body will be easy. Two aspiring contenders of the GFA presidency – Adama Hala Samba, the President of Wallidan FC and Modou Musa, former GFA Vice President – have 100 days to flex their muscle for the bout on March 31, 2013.

On December 8th two third of the GFA member clubs approved an amendment that called for a congress to be held in 2013. This will close chapter for the Normalization Committee, which came into office after the government removed the administration of Seedy Kinteh from office.

Informed sources told Kibaaro News that while Mr. Samba’s drive to run for office has been spurred by “my sound knowledge and experience of the Gambian game as a player, coach and administrator”, Mr. Musa on the other hand, was believed to be handpicked by the GFA Normalization Committee.

It’s hard to predict who will win the fight to lead the GFA, an association that has been at the center of it all. Halla Samba and Modou Musa are left at the mercy of clubs.

Whoever is elected will most likely inherit a cash-strapped association. The congress comes on the heels of unconfirmed reports that the World Football governing body (FIFA) has shunned the GFA, suspending financial assistance to the association. GFA sources said the Normalization Committee’s numerous attempts to get FIFA annual financial assistance have so far bore no fruit. Resumption of assistance depends on the election of an executive committee in March.

Sources also added that the GFA is already struggling to pay staff salaries, and by December 31st it would have six month’s salary arrears.

Ends

Embarrassment Befalls Gambia Football Association

November 17, 2012

AS ITALY DENIES NATIONAL TEAM ENTRY VISAS  

 

Scorpions need to sting Ivory Coast & Tanzania

Omar Sey is economical with details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gambia’s national football team was denied entry visa to Italy to play an international friendly match.

An administrative blunder on the part of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) was squarely blamed for the cancellation of a scheduled match between the Scorpions and Siena FC last Wednesday.

Italian Consular’s visa denial was based on GFA’s failure to tender an official invitation letter from Siena FC.  “The visa denial by Italian Consular in Dakar was supported by the GFA’s failure to tender invitation letter from Siena FC outlining details of the trip,” said a source.

The Vice Chairman of GFA Normalization Committee Omar Sey confirmed the postponement of the international friendly but fell short of providing the details. This leaves the Gambian public, particularly football fans, in complete darkness.

The test match was meant to help the national team’s Italian gaffer, Luciano Mancini, to measure the team’s performance ahead of the Ivory Coast cracker next year. Under the guard of a man with minimal English language, the Scorpions made a lackluster international start, losing to Tanzania and drawing against Morocco in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

For the Gambia to realize its hopes of making a maiden appearance in world football, it must brush off star-studded Ivory Coast and Tanzania. Its failure to do exactly that will result to an early exit in 2013 qualifiers.

 

Jammeh Punishes Scorpion’s Fans Club

September 21, 2012

FOR FAILING TO TOIL IN HIS KANILAI FARM

Only Two Fans Cheer U-17 Team

National Scorpion’s Fans Club has dearly paid the price of failing to toil in President Yahya Jammeh’s Kanilai farm. Consequently, Mr. Jammeh allocated only two air tickets to the fans club to cheer the Gambia’s women’s team at the Fifa U-17 World Cup tournament in Azerbaijan.  The tournament  kicks off on September 22.

The President of Scorpion’s Fans Club Bai Ebrima Cham made the confirmation at a news conference. He said the acting Director of Youth and Sports, Pa Suwareh Faye, made the expose.

Mr. Cham could not see the basis for punishing his club because its members take part in most of the President’s activities such as July 22nd and independence celebrations.

“So how come they are labeling us like that. This is why we wanted to see the President and explain to him our problems because it is good we hear it from him than anybody else,” Mr. Cham said, adding that his club is among President Jammeh’s favorite family members. “He likes us very much because anytime we go there we do entertain him, and he appreciates it.”

Cham still wants explanation on why his club, which is big in size, gets only ticket tickets from President Jammeh.

“Why is that we were given two tickets after telling us that the president said we are not part of the package,” Bai Ebrima Cham asked, complaining that is not simply enough for only two fans club members to cheer the national U-17 women’s team.

 

GAMBIA’S OLYMPIC SHAMBLES

July 29, 2012

Gambian representatives at London Olympics opening ceremony wearing APRC Green fatgues!

Three officials led by Momodou Demba, the development officer of the Gambian National Olympic Committee (GNOC) and Gambia Chef De Mission, joined only three participants at the London Olympics opening ceremony to represent the Country.

Old and frail looking men with one female were seen representing the Gambia, when the name of the country was announced at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on Friday 27th July 2012.

An angry viewer of the event, who contacted Kibaaro News, asked why this has become the trend in the Gambia, as if no one cares. A former athlete, who also contacted us, accused the Gambian Olympic Committee of being bias by denying deserving athletes the opportunity to travel to represent the country at the Olympics.

Some Gambians said they were embarrassed to see their country’s representatives dressed in complete green outfit, which symbolizes the ruling APRC flag. They wondered why they did not wear any of our colourful national outfits.

The Gambia National Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association was formed in 1972, under the stewardship of Mr Omar Sey. The former Director of Youth and Sports, who later became the President of the organization that attained full membership of the International Olympic Committee four years later. His prominent successors  were Alhaji A .B. Dandeh-Njie elected President of the Association and Alhaji A.M Touray Secretary General.

Gambia’s first attendance of Olympic and also its biggest to date was in 1984 when all the 10 athletes competed at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. They included twins Paul and Peter Ceesay who took part in the 1, 500 and 800 meter events, respectively. Though no medal was won, the spirit of the game kicked off in Banjul with young aspirants showing talents. One such talent was Jay Suma Saidy-Ndure who had so much hopes of a silver wear in sprinting. He was reported to be frustrated with the corrupt system of sport officials in Banjul, prompting his decision to run for Norway where he later naturalized.

In the last trials for qualification held in Dakar Senegal from the 15th – 16th May 2010 attended by Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mauritania and Cape Verde in Pre-Olympic Youth Qualification for West Africa Region; Gambia scored the following positions. What had happened after that became a complete mystery, with people questioning how the country’s representatives made it to London.

1. Fatou Sowe 100m Girls 2nd position Heat 1 timing 12.50Q, 100m Girls 3rd position Final timing (12.48).

2. Gina Bass 200m Girls 2nd position Heat timing 25.6Q,

3. Ousman Gibba 100m Boys 2nd position Heat 1 timing (10.88),

4. Ebrima Saine 400m boys 4thposition Heat1 timing (11.09)

5. Momodou Lamin Kujabi 400m boys 2ndposition Heat1 timing (49.93)

6. Fatou Sowe 100m girls 3rd position Final timing (26.62)

7. Gina Bass 200m girls 2nd position Heat timing (12.29)

8. Fatou Sowe 200m girls 5th position Final timing (26.85)

9. Ousman Gibba 100m boys 6th position Final timing (11.16) 200m boys 2nd position Final timing (21.88)

10. Momodou Lamin Kujabi 400m boys 3rd position Final timing (49.46).

The Gambian team came out 2nd position in the final 4x1x2x3x4 men’s relay. The team comprised Ousman Gibba, Ebrima Saine, Momodou Lamin Kujabi and Omar Jammeh with a record timing of (1.57.24) and Omar Jammeh came 1st in the 1000m boys final.

Out of all the above performances, there were no mention of either Suwaibou Sanneh or Sariba Colley who are representing the Gambia at this year’s Olympics. Sariba clocked her best performance at the Benin trials clocking 12.12 in women’s 100m race. Suwaibou Sanneh is expected to make his debut on Saturday 4th of August 2012 at 11.30 am GM in the men’s 100m race.

Three athletes represented Gambia at the Beijing Olympics, where two competed in 100m races; one in boxing. All three athletes in Beijing were eliminated in the first rounds. However, there too, the country was represented more by officials than athletes.

Gambia has few highlights to report on Olympic success, but Dawda Jallow came seventh in 400m at Seoul in 1988, reaching the quarter finals.

 MEDAL HISTORY:

  Medal total:                           0

  Medals per head:                 0

Olympic debut:                    1984

Total Games appearances:   7

 

Algeria Double Thrashed Gambia

June 18, 2012

The Scorpions battling the Desert Foxes

The Scorpions were left battered to tatters on 16 June 2012 at Blida, Algeria; as the Desert Foxes completed a double leg win over Gambia.

With a number of the squad’s key players missing and controversy hitting the Gambian camp, coach Mancini, who barely understand a word of English, helplessly watch his  side learned a bitter footballing lesson from the star-studded Algerian side.

It was an uphill battle for the Scorpions to overturn a 2-1 goal deficit to Algeria at their home turf of Blida to seal a slot in the African Cup of Nations group stages. The crusade looked mission impossible from the on set well before the 2-1 home defeat to the Desert Foxes in Banjul.

It became worse shortly after the umpire blew the whistle for the commencement of the game. Algeria slammed their opening goal via Valencienne’s Foud Kadir in the 24th seconds of the first minute, which resulted after a dismal poor communication between Futty Danso and goalkeeper Christopher Allen. It gave Mr Kadir an easy tap in to give the home side their first scream.

Five minutes after, in the 6th minute, the Desert Foxes poked in their second through Islam Silimani adding insult to injury as he rifled past the helpless Gambia Ports Authority net-minder, Allen, to be mobbed by his team-mates in celebration.

Just when all hopes seems to have dashed; the Spain–based under-20 captain, Saihou Gassama made a solo run cutting past his marker at the edge of the 18 yard box to unleash a screamer, which flew past the stretched Algerian keeper and hit the back of the net. 2-1 it ended at the halftime.

Gambia came close to leveling the score at the second half, after Mon’s striker-turned midfielder Mustapha Toubabo Jarju, who was deputizing for Pa Dembo Touray as the captain, wastefully thwarted the chance, sending his low ball wide, when there was no red Jersey to pick in the penalty box.

The Scorpions suffered another set back in the second-half after the Algerian player tucked his boot against the Gambian goalkeeper, Allen, forcing him out of the game. He was replaced by the Brikama United’s stopper, Bubacarr Sanyang, who was handed his first debut for the Scorpions.

Algeria kept piling pressure on the visitors and Demba Savage’s squandered free-kick near the box did not help the visitors’ fortunes. Five minutes into the second-half, Islam Silimani completed a brace with his second goal and Algeria’s third; finishing off a cross from the left unmarked.

Soudani wrapped up the score line firing in the final goal as Algeria humiliated Gambia to the full fledge. Momodou Ceesay retired for the fresh legs of Ali Sowe, Demba Savage also came off for the U-17’s winger Saloum Faal.

The score ended 4-1 to the Desert Foxes leaving the scorpions still crawling on the ground.