THE ALL TIME LEGEND HAS FALLEN
I didn’t except that our meeting in your house in Old Jeshwang on the eve of your departure to Dakar, Senegal for medical treatment will be the last of its kind. It was not until few hours after the announcement of your demise that I recalled and made sense out of the statement you made to me and my colleagues during this meeting, thus: « I am going, whether I come back or not, know that I will always be with you «. Little did I know that you were saying adieu to us, uncle ALHAJI MOMODOU NJIE aka BIRI BIRI.
I know you all my life, from a small boy who would be peeping through the fence of the old Commissioner’s Residence in Brikama to set my eyes on you during the camping of the the then GAMBIA 11 therein, to my school days in Banjul where I will be struggling to watch you play at the then Box Ba Stadium to the independence stadium where I will be present either on duty or as a spectator. I never had enough of watching you play the game which no one master more than you.
Uncle Biri Biri, my personal interactions with you started in 1995, when you were serving as the Deputy Mayor of the capital city, the city you loved so much and gave your life to.
From there on, our relationship developed more and more up to the time I served as Minister of Youth and Sports during which period you gave me invaluable support,
guidance and encouragement, especially during our hosting of the then ZONE II Amilcar Cabral Tournament in 1997.
Upon my assumption of the leadership of The Gambia Football Federation, you never ceased to be on my side, giving me your sincere advices and guidance as both a GFF Goodwill Ambassador and Technical Adviser. I love and respect you for being very frank and outspoken in your belief. Your sometimes blunt expression of your feelings to me and my colleagues have helped us in executing our task of developing and managing the game in the country. Indeed, we shall be ever grateful.
Little did we know that honoring you with that modest award during the maiden GFF Awards and Recognition Night last January was going to be the first and last of its kind. Though it was a big gesture on our side but we would have loved you to witness the official inauguration of the BIRI BIRI Mini Stadium currently under construction at the GFF National Technical Training Center in Old Yundum, but we take heart and returned all praises to the Almighty Allah for taking the best decision for you.
As we mourn and celebrate you, uncle, I would like to assure you that we will not relent in our efforts in ensuring that your legacy lives on as long as we are the position.
On behalf of the entire GFF and the football family of the country and beyond, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to your dear family, and we pray that the Almighty Allah grant you permanent abode in Janaatul Firdaus. Ameen.
Till we meet again, adieu.