2007 highs and lows
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
It is the start of the new year but what football event did you get most excited about in 2007?
Perhaps it was Real de Banjul lifting their first league title in ten years in the GFA First Division League.
Or was it the Abidjan four-nation tournament where Gambia were crowned champions?
Maybe it was the African Nations Cup qualifiers for Ghana 2008 that came to a thrilling conclusion in the second half of the year with Scorpions failing to qualify despite their heroic performance of late.
Perhaps it was the the 2007 CAF Under 20 Championship finals in Congo Brazzaville with its multitude of yellow cards, the diving of players - the Congo tourney has been a breath of fresh-air.
It lingered in my mind after I was opportuned to travel with dozens of Gambian fans and journalists to cheer up the Darling Scorpions in the Central African nation.
Believe me, we could have won the coveted trophy, if not for our poor tactics against the highly-rated but weak Nigerian side which cost us the trophy and the one million US dollar conditional pledge made by President Jammeh.
But all the same, many Gambians were pleased with the bronze medal and the World Cup spot.
I did not forget Ousman Jallow's Golden Boot title which he dedicated to his father. And Pierre Gomez's Best Goalkeeper award.
The Gambia, Zambia, Nigeria and the champions Congo-Brazzaville represented the African continent in Canada but the Darling Scorpions only returned home with nothing more than fond memories of the North American country.
How about the unhuman act by the Canadian embassy in Ghana in denying over two hundred would-be Gambian supporters entry visas to the Canada finals?
These are, of course, just a few of the abounding memories from an action-packed 2007.
I will not do justice if I end this piece without heaping praises on the brain behind Gambia's success in 2007 - H.E President Yahya Jammeh!
H.E made sure Gambia were fully represented in all these mouth-watering tourneys. Apart from airlifting hundreds of Gambian fans and journalists to Congo Brazzaville, each Under 20 player travelled to Canada with US$ 5,000 (five thousand US dollars) in the pocket. A huge amount of money! What more could His Excellency do?
Thank you, our benevolent and magnificent leader - Dr Alhaji Yahya Jammeh.
Author: Nanama Keita