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Sabally Calls For Sports Minister To Resign Or Be Sacked After CAF Stadium Ban

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Momodou Sabally, Campaign Manager of UDP

By Buba Gagigo

Momodou Sabally, Campaign Manager of the United Democratic Party (UDP), has called on Minister of Youth and Sports Bakary Y. Badjie to resign or be sacked after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) declared the Independence Stadium unfit to host an international match.

“The Minister of Youth and sport should resign; and if he does not resign, then President Barrow should fire him.

The Youth and Sports Minister left his office for weeks to go and campaign for a mayoral job at the most critical implementation stage of this stadium project. How can you expect the project to be implemented successfully?” he asked.

Sabally said that he predicted months ago that the project would not be successful, and that the much-anticipated home game against Congo would not be held at the stadium because CAF would not approve it for international matches.

“I made this prediction knowing very well that the stadium renovation project was built on a wrong footing. I have always said that procurement fraud will destroy this country. It seems that all key projects are handed to close associates of the President at bloated costs to the government. Key elements of the stadium renovation project were contracted to companies owned by close associates of President Barrow. I have been vindicated again because CAF has published their verdict on our stadium, saying it is still unfit to host international matches. The home game against Congo will not be played in this country. 

“Thank God he lost the election because the people of this country have bestowed their trust in The Leader of the United Democratic Party, Lawyer Darboe. And so, UDP will always come out victorious in any fair contest in this country. In fact, I have seen a Facebook post by one lady who said that a good summary of the CAF inspection report on our stadium will lead one to conclude only one thing: CAF is simply telling us to build a new stadium,” Sabally said.

Sabally said he concurred with the decision because the stadium renovation project may actually end up endangering the lives of Gambians. 

“A stadium that is almost 40 years old should need serious reinforcement of its structures before adding weight to it. As it turns out, CAF has said that the seats fixed on the pavilions are not properly installed. How can we add more weight of tens of thousands of seats to an old structure without reinforcing or overhauling that structure. Football is a good sport, but why should we endanger the lives of thousands of Gambians just because we want to rush to fulfil a CAF requirement by cosmetic adjustments only.

“Gambian should be worried about the safety of spectators in this stadium and not just their desire to fulfil a CAF requirement. How can the youth ministry implement such a critical project without involving the key stakeholder, The Gambia Football Federation? There is only one explanation, the ministry is not interested in transparency and due process; they are only interested in corruption,” he concluded.

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