Security tops agenda - As committee for Senegal-Gambia match meets
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Senegal football authorities have set up a special committee tasked with the responsibility of ensuring a safe security network during the Senegal-Gambia West African derby match scheduled for October 11.
The Scorpions will take on Terenga Lions in the final qualifier match of the joint qualifier for the 2010 World Cup and Nations Cup qualifier at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar, and under CAF's new rule, the winner in the match will fetch the group's automatic ticket to the next stage irrespective of what happens in the Liberia - Algeria tie.
Cognisant of the intense rivalry that exists between the two neighbouring countries, the host nation has already set the ball rolling to ensure that the much-anticipated match is violence free.
The committee, which comprises of officials from the sports ministry, Committee of Normalization of Soccer (CNF) and Ministry of Interior, had its maiden meeting on Monday, where it brainstormed on how best it can ensure a peaceful match on October 11.
One of Senegal's local daily newspapers, L'Observateur, reported that the committee, during its Monday meeting, discussed at length on the state of security, considering the decisive nature of the fixture.
Reports quoted the committee as saying that a derby match is never easy to organise, more especially when it pits two rivals together when both sides are in dire need of the maximum points.
Bearing in mind the ugly incidents that punctuated the last derby match between the two countries in 2003, the committee is not taking anything for granted, L'Observateur said.
Ndèye Dome Thiouf, a member of the committee, said the security of people and place will be paramount, noting that another meeting will be convened on Monday where the security of the persons and places will be closely looked into.
The Terenga Lions faithfuls are not taking the October 11 match lightly considering the impressive performance of Gambia Scorpions in their last group match against Liberia against Senegal's lackluster display in Algeria.
The Senegalese tacticians have had a series of meetings after the Algeria setback and according to L'Observateur, Senegal will do all they can to wake up from the Algeria 3-1 thumping to solace the home fans who are hungry for victory.
"We have closedly looked into the match against Algeria, and we hope that such poor performance by the team will not be repeated," a member of the normalisation committee was quoted as saying.
Author: by Nanama Keita