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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Badou’s Demise Shocks Sports Fraternity

The Late Badou Jassey
By Mandu Sanneh

Members of the sports fraternity especially the football arena were Friday morning shocked to the announcement of the death of a retired referee cum president of the Gambia Referee Federation Alhagie Badou Jassey alias Uncle Badou.
The late Alhagie Badou Jassey passed away Friday morning at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) in Banjul, were he was admitted as a patient with breathing difficulties, according to news release.
The former CAF and FIFA referee has just returned from Liberia where he was attending a referee course organised by FIFA.
To the  mourning Gambia Sports fraternity, Uncle Badou’s death is an irreplaceable loss.
He was laid to rest on Friday at Jeshwang cemetery.
May his soul rest in peace.  Amen!

Mayor Kolley: I Prefer GAMCEL

Lord Mayor Kolley of KMC
By Abdoulie Nget
The mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council said, although he subscribes to all the four GSM companies in The Gambia, he prefers the state-owned, Gamcel.
“Anytime I have a brand new mobile phone, I insert my Gamcel card in it because I respect Gamcel,” he said. “I have all the [four] GSM operators, but I prefer Gamcel.”
The Gambia Cellular Company (GAMCEL), a brainchild of The Gambia Telecommunications Company (GAMTEL) is the first cellular network provider in the country.
The birth of GAMCEL on May 25, 2001 has given rise to a competitive telecommunication sector – one of the main drivers of the economy of natural resource-poor Gambia. Private-owned GSM companies: Africell in 2003, Comium in 2007 and Qcell in 2009 have all joined the fray.
Called ‘Yaay Borom,’ a Wolof term used by advertising agents in describing the state/public ownership, GAMCEL celebrated ten year anniversary in a grand style on Wednesday at its headquarters in Kanifing.
Speaking at the event, Mayor Yankuba Kolley said, patronising Gamcel is a contribution towards national development as it is state-owned and it ploughs its profit back to the public.
As the event coincided with the birthday of Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, Kolley extended birthday greetings to President Jammeh and commended him for establishing GAMCEL.
GAMCEL’s General Manager,  Phoday Ceesay, also commended President Jammeh, who he said, is the man behind the establishment Gamcel.
“I am very thankful to our customers who make to be what we are today,” he said.
Mr Kebba Bojang, the senior sales manager of GAMCEL and Ndey Sainabou Jeng, alias ‘Yaye Minister,’ Gamcel’s major advertising agent, are among other speakers at the event.
Meanwhile, prominent Gambian artists, including Kora Maestro, Jaliba Kuyateh, afromanding star, Sambou Sosso, Nancy Nanz and Balaranks, among others.
And birthday presents from Senegambia craft market, Banjul craft market, Baby Mariama Jammeh group, Happy Sisters and Gamcel Sisters, among others, were presented to GAMCEL.

Women, Youth Groups Receive Donated Materials

By Abdoulie Nget

Five women groups from various communities namely, Faji Kunda, Tallinding, Banjul, Brusubi and Sutukoba has each benefitted from a sewing machine.
The youth of these communities were also provided with football materials.   
The items were donated by a group of visiting students from Juniata College, U.S. through its partner in The Gambia, Alliance for Democracy in Africa (ADA), a non-profit NGO that seeks to promote democracy in Africa.
Speaking at the presentation at Tallinding Alkalo’s compound, ADA’s Public Relations Manager in U.S, Emily Nagengast, who is leading the students, said the gesture was in fulfillment of a promise he made when he and his son met Dr. Madi Touray, director of ADA.
“From our last year’s trip, we promised to help ADA.  We decided to bring football materials and sewing machines for the women and youth,” he said.
Mr Nagengast said they will explore the country to gain more experience during their three-week stay in The Gambia.
Maya Kunta of Tallinding who spoke on behalf of the women groups expressed delight over the gesture.
 “We engage in sewing of shirts, bedsheets and soap making to make ends meet,” she said.
 “We used oil and soda to make soap, but we are facing difficulties due to the high price of soap making materials. We need more help to execute our work effectively,” she appeals.
Dr Madi Touray, the director of ADA commended the students for assisting the women and the youth through his organisation.  
He urged the beneficiaries to take proper care of the donated items.
“Last year, I played football with Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School and I realised that they have talents, but lack materials,” a son to Mr Nagengast has said.
FaBakary Badjie, younger brother of the alkalo of Tallinding also spoke at the event.

Messi modest in victory

UEFA Champions League man of the match Lionel Messi played down his heroics after helping Barcelona topple Manchester United at Wembley.
Messi continued his march towards the pantheon of all-time greats with a mesmeric display on the biggest club stage of them all as Barca romped to a 3-1 victory that gave them their fourth European Cup and third in six years.
The Argentina ace was a constant threat throughout and got his name on the scoresheet shortly after half time to give Barca a lead they would not relinquish for a second time.
Messi could not be contained by The Red Devils, but he was putting aside his personal display as the team's overall performance came first and foremost.
"To be the man of the match is the least important thing, because it was incredible how we played. We were very good in all areas," explained Messi.
"We're very happy to lift another trophy. It was a difficult season but we showed who we are. We were the better team."
Messi's 12th goal of this season's competition equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's Champions League record and team-mate Xavi said: "He is the number one, he makes the difference - he is just the best player in the world."


Tribute was also paid to left-back Eric Abidal, who was given the honour of lifting the European Cup just two months after undergoing surgery to remove a liver tumour.
Right-back Daniel Alves said: "Even before all of this, we said our biggest victory, our most important trophy, was the recovery of Abi.
"We put on a spectacle for everyone who is passionate about football and who loves football. And I think that people who really like football will be very happy today because they have seen a great match."
Midfielder Sergio Busquets agreed, describing it as an "almost perfect game" by Barca, who repeated their 2009 triumph over United.
As in Rome two years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson's men were unable to maintain a blistering start to the game, while a late rally also came to nought.
Busquets said: "We suffered a bit at the beginning, and at the end, but by then the match was already decided.
"I think it was an almost perfect game - we had lots of possession and moved the ball very well. Thanks to that we managed to win."
Barca's win came at the scene of their first European Cup triumph 19 years earlier.
David Villa, who killed the contest with more than 20 minutes remaining with a wonderful 25-yard curler, said: "I couldn't be happier.
"It's a fantastic result for us in what is such an important stadium in our club's history.
"We were full of ambition and wanted to take full advantage of this era with all the great players we have.
"When we went 3-1 up, it meant we could play calmly. It's now time to celebrate with all my family."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Laws Should Be Questioned if Out of Place, Says ex-Judge

By Abdoulie Nget
Almame Taal Ft Madi Jobarteh

Mr Almami Fanding Taal, the chairperson of Foundation for Legal Aid, Research and Empowerment (FLARE), a Gambia-based human rights organisation has said that laws should be questioned if out of place.
A former High Court Judge whose services were recently terminated for unexplained reason/s said, laws, being human-made, should be suitable to the needs of the citizens.
Taal said, all government activities are funded by the people through the taxes they pay, thus any wrong decision made should be questioned by the people of the country.
“We need to hold government accountable, but we must take our own responsibilities to hold them accountable,” he said.
The legal consultant was speaking on Saturday at a day-long seminar organised by FLARE as part of activities marking World Press Freedom Day held at Gambia Press Union.
The event brought together journalists from both print and electronic media to discuss human rights issues.
The theme of the seminar is in conformity with the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day: 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers.
It seeks to reaffirm fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age, the ability of citizens to voice out their opinions and access diverse, independent information some 20 years after the original declaration was made in Windhoek, Namibia.
“As media practitioners and members of the society in which you live, you are entitled to know as well as to be given your due rights,” FLARE chairman told the country’s pen pushers. 
He added: “Conflicts are inevitable when we have a community, but the laws that exist for us will serve as a solution to these conflicts.”
“Societies cannot exist without laws and then we should resolve our ideas as to what to do with these laws,” Taal added.
Taal also criticised Gambia media for what he calls failure to give details in reporting issues.
He added: “If a man is charged with stealing and found guilty, yes you send him to jail but you will in turn feed him or her with the same tax you will pay.”
Speaking earlier was a veteran Gambian journalist, Mr Alieu Sagnia, the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) country director.
Mr Sagnia said, the occasion was made possible as a result of a collaborative effort with FLARE and GPU.
He shed light on ICFJ’s new project in The Gambia, which started late last year in partnership with GPU and FLARE.
“The project is a 20 month programme,” he said, “there will be series of training workshops and seminars as part of the project, which is aims to develop media in The Gambia.”
Madi Jobarteh, Coordinator of FLARE who made a presentation on the role of the media in national development indicated that without a free media, there will be no development.
“All democratic constitutions and governments should respect, protect and fulfill the rights of the media,” Madi said.
The seminar was chaired by Njundu Drammeh, a member of FLARE and a human rights activist.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sammy Wanjiru death: Shock, sadness and questions in Kenya

Source : The BBC
There is great shock and sadness in Kenya at the news that Samuel Wanjiru is dead.
At just 24 years of age, he still had great ambition to add to his already impressive medal collection.
Many questions are also being asked:
  • Did he commit suicide as one police chief has reported?
  • How can an ultra-fit athlete die when falling from a first-floor balcony less than five metres (16 feet) off the ground?
  • Why have there been different police reports of what happened?
  • To what extent did his considerable prize money contribute to his death?
“Start Quote
He was such a jovial and friendly person and we were looking forward to him breaking the marathon world record in the near future ”
David Okeyo Athletics Kenya
“Sammy”, as he was known, had had extraordinary success at a young age.
Having moved to Japan to train and race at the age of just 15, he broke the half-marathon world record at 18 and then won Olympic gold in Beijing at 21 – a moment which brought great pride to many Kenyans.
There were also London and Chicago marathon wins.
Fellow athletes have paid tribute to Wanjiru.
Kind and polite
“This is very shocking and sad news to all of us. We have lost a very young and talented athlete,” said former marathon world record holder Paul Tergat.
“This is a guy we were all hoping still had a long career ahead of him. He was only 24 years old so he still had about another 10 years at the top of his career.”
I interviewed Wanjiru last year and he came across as incredibly kind, polite and generous with his time.
I could not get over how young he looked, as well as the fact that an Olympic record holder was staying in a $25 (£15) Nairobi hotel ahead of his trip to London for the marathon there.
The police say the truth of how Wanjiru died will come out but conflicting reports have already been given.
Sammy Wanjiru had a row with his wife, Triza Njeri (r) shortly before his fatal fall
“Wanjiru came home with another woman friend at around 2330 and then when his wife came home and found them she inquired who the lady was,” Nyahururu police chief Jasper Ombati said.
“They got into an argument. His wife locked them in the bedroom and ran off. He then jumped from the bedroom balcony. We do not suspect foul play. In our estimation we think he wanted to stop his wife from leaving the compound.”
From the capital, Nairobi, 150km (93 miles) away a different version: “The fact of the matter is that Wanjiru committed suicide,” said national police spokesman Eric Kiraithe.
‘Too much money’
The 24-year-old was having a turbulent relationship with his wife.
Last December Wanjiru was charged with threatening her life, assault and the illegal possession of a firearm.
Samuel Wanjiru
  • 1986: Born in Nyahururu
  • 2002: Moves to Japan, aged 15, after winning cross-country selection
  • 2005: Breaks half-marathon record
  • 2008: Wins Olympic gold in Beijing
  • 2009: Sets course records in London and Chicago marathons
  • 2010: Charged with threatening to kill his wife
The Building were he fell
Earlier this year Wanjiru and his wife said they had reconciled and she dropped a court case against him.
The court case over the illegal firearm was imminent and there are reports that he had returned home to meet his lawyer ahead of that case.
Some Kenyans believe his domestic problems were linked to his recently acquired wealth from prize money.
“He’s a hero so it hit me really bad. There are many rumours going on I don’t know what to believe,” one Nairobi resident told the BBC.
“It is saddening but I was expecting it somehow because through his behaviour lately, it seemed he didn’t know how to manage the money he had suddenly got,” said a student at Nairobi University. “It was a case of too much money. If you have so much money people will come and want to help you spend it.”
“He was a role model to many young people, especially athletes, so he has let down a lot of people,” was another opinion on the streets of Nairobi. “Those who wanted to be like him are confused and lost now.
“He needed somebody to direct him. The money lied to him that he had everything and he could do anything in life and that was his greatest undoing.”
Guidance needed?
From Kenya’s athletics body there is great sadness and shock.
Wanjiru fell from his first floor balcony
“He was such a jovial and friendly person and we were looking forward to him breaking the marathon world record in the near future,” Athletics Kenya’s Secretary-General David Okeyo told the BBC.
There have been suggestions that when he was not training, alcohol played a role in the athlete’s problems but Mr Okeyo disagrees.
“As far as I am concerned I do not think he has had any big problem with alcohol. He was OK and it also didn’t seem the court cases were affecting him,” he said.
But questions are being asked about whether he could have been given better guidance given his age and humble beginnings.
“He was still a very young man, got married when still young and with the family and relationship issues, probably the athletics federation could have done more in counselling these athletes in how to handle their lives,” Tergat said.
“People of a professional calibre could have really guided him and counsel how to live a more productive life for many years to come,” he added.
Very dedicated on the track and haunted by domestic problems off it, Kenya has lost a hugely talented athlete at a tragically young age.