In this week’s edition of the Diaspora column, a popular column on the pages of “The Gambia’s Paper”, the Daily Observer, we spoke to Ousman B. Kinteh, an ex-British soldier who is now aiming for a career in journalism. Kinteh, son of the legendary Chief, Alhaji Buwa Kinteh, is heavily involved in the efforts to decentralise football in the country.
Background: I was born in The Gambia in Jarra Pakalinding in 1983. My father is Alhaji Buwa Kinteh the former Chief of Jarra West District who served in that position for 30 years. He had served under both the First and Second Republics of The Gambia.
Due to my mother’s commitment in the National Health Service as a nurse, I spent the early years of my life in Bansang (CRR) with my grandmother from 1984 to 1988. I moved to my home village of Pakalinding in 1988 for the village’s annual circumcision. I spent eleven years of my early childhood in Pakalinding from 1988 to 1998 where I spent most of my early school career in Pakalinding Nursery, Pakalinding Primary and later Pakalinding Junior School. In September 1998, I moved to Sukuta Junior Secondary and in 1999 I moved to SOS Senior Secondary School where I served as school councillor until 2002 when I completed my secondary school career. In 2002 to 2003 I studied the Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) programme at the Management Development institute (MDI). In 2004 I was asked by my father to move back to my native village in Pakalinding to manage the Trans-Gambia-Lodge until November 2004.
United Kingdom: In December 2005, I travelled to the United Kingdom to further my education in business studies. In 2006, I joined the British army and served there till 2012 when I moved back to The Gambia for a year-long holiday. I’m still an active military veteran and reserve of the British Army until 2029. During my time in The Gambia, I enjoyed involving myself in community activities and hanging around with the youths.
In United Kingdom, I am more interested and involved in public service. I think this is something that has to do more with my family background and my military career. I am currently working for Birmingham City Council as an enforcement officer.
Football: I started investing in football in 2012 in Pakalinding village in the memory of my late brother Lamin Kinteh (GM), because at the time, I had found less youth activity in Jarra, most of them were involved in heavy smoking, substance abuse and high rate of youth migration to the Greater Banjul Area. I did my part in encouraging youths in sports activities for them to stay in the villages to help their parents in the farms and get involved in active education. I also remember during my time, in the village football was on a hold due to lack of sponsorship. I helped in restoring the glory days of football in Jarra West and as a result I won the trust of the youth of Jarra.
Achievements: I started the online sports publication www.gambiafootballleagues.com. This is a homegrown online platform that keeps the country updated on the progress of national, regional and local league football. It offers updates on 100% Gambia football activities taking place in the football arena in the country. Gambia football league website also offers live scores of the Gambia Football Federation First Division football league, and scores and tables of both the first and second division leagues.
I’m also the founder of Gambia Football Leagues Facebook page with over seventeen thousand followers and over hundred thousand weekly views. Gambia Football Leagues Facebook and WhatsApp groups strictly update 100% Gambia football news and rumours. These various social media sites I created led to more connection of Gambians all over the world in one forum.
I sponsored the first ever decentralisation of football in The Gambia campaign, during which we managed a successful countrywide tour of interviewing and meeting football stakeholders. I and my brothers, Lamin Jassey and Yankuba MB Kinteh managed to sponsor the most talked about rural annual football tournament in Pakalinding village with an annual budget of over D100, 000.
I was also involved with Bakau United Football Club and my involvement in 2014 led to their most successful league campaign in The Gambia first division.
Career and Future: I’m currently studying part-time journalism, and am hoping to be a good writer in the future. My love for Gambian football is the reason I am looking forward to a career in football journalism.
I will love to be back in The Gambia one day, Allah willing. My only worry is I’m the first generation of my family in the United Kingdom and I’ll love to be here for my son.
Final Words: One of my main goals is to see football in The Gambia to be completely decentralised and the national league to be played nationwide. I believe we should take an example from Senegal; they are now third in African football ranking because football is decentralised in Senegal.