STADIUM GM CALLS FOR GOV’T BAILOUT
Monday, April 23, 2012
The general manager of the Independence Stadium and Friendship Hostel (ISFH), Ebou Faye, has revealed that he is working towards making sure that the pitch at the country’s only National Stadium is in perfect condition all year round.
Faye, who was recently appointed to the position by the new minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu Kebba Jammeh was speaking to Observer Sports 10 days ago at his office in Bakau. He said that they are working on a proper managerial scale at the Stadium, and promised that his administration will work hard in making sure that there is a proper technical department.
The seasoned administrator said they are hoping that with the proper structures in place, the Stadium will be able to generate income to sustain itself. He however, indicated that they need a government bailout to try and rescue the situation at the 30,000-seater Chinese-built Stadium.
His words: “What we are trying to do is definitely achievable because we all know how a standard Stadium should look like, so the bailout is to give us a breathing space so that we can address the financial status of the Stadium. If we have that, it can generate a lot of funds.” Faye further stated that the Stadium needs a major rehabilitation for the first time since it was built some 28 years ago even though it was renovated ahead of the Presidential Inauguration celebrations.
While admitting that the structures at the Stadium are still in excellent condition, he stressed that the fixtures and fittings have to be changed. He decried the fact that the Stadium is still using the squatting toilets “in this generation”. He further stressed that the scoreboard and the PC system need to be renovated. ‘’Because the PC system is also very important to give out information especially in terms of emergency when a crowd violence occur, you can easily use it to transmit the message on,” he added.
The facilities at the Stadium used to be in very good condition but things took a downward spiral this past few years that also witnessed frequent managerial changes by the authorities concerned in their effort to rescue the situation at the Stadium. However, Faye dismissed the idea that the current state of the Stadium should not be entirely attributed to bad management.
“No, I wouldn’t say that because at least the Stadium is
still functioning. But being a sportsman who has traveled to several places in
the world, we need to raise the standard of the Stadium to be at that level,”
he said, while again dismissing claims that the Stadium is old. He cited
legendry Manchester United Stadium, Old Trafford, as an example, which he said
is older [than the Independence Stadium].
According to him, the advanced world continues to build on what they have and he sees Gambia as no exception. He added that with proper maintenance, the Stadium can continue to serve its purpose for many more years to come.
A fracas that broke out during a league match between
Brikama United and Steve Biko at the Stadium last month led to the damage of
some Stadium property and the management decided not to allow another league
game to be played at the venue, until the damage has been repaired. The
decision resulted in some confusion between the parties concerned, but Faye,
who revealed that it was not a big matter said since his taking over, he has
provided the regulations for using the Stadium which were not there before and
that led to the misunderstanding.
According to him, the FA feels that they were not responsible since there were no regulations guiding the usage of the facilities during the time of his predecessors. The problem has already been solved and matches have started taking place at the ground already.
‘’We (both the Stadium management and the football association) are answerable to the Ministry (of Youth and Sports) but we are given (separate) responsibilities to manage our own (institutions) so we have to manage it based on principles and not on sentiments. I am a football man and have supported the FA and I am working with them on so many things but principles are principles are have to be abide by,” he added.
Though many people have called for the construction of a new Stadium to complement the old one, Faye rather urged the authorities concerned to build on the old one by increasing its capacity that will cost little more than the millions that will be spent on building a new stadium. He also stressed the need for a training ground for the various national teams, which according to him will increase the life span of the grass.
Having demonstrated his commitment to all facets of development in the country especially in the youth and sports sector, Gambian President Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh according to the Stadium GM has once again demonstrated his magnanimity by pledging to undertake the rehabilitation of the scoreboard.
Author: Baboucarr Camara