|Ebou Faye with the player of the Tournament Abdoulie Njie|
A slightly overcast and wet Saturday afternoon on July 2, 2011 saw a large number of the deaf and hard of hearing community turn out in force to watch the clash of the Gambia Deaf Sports Association teams from KMC and Brikama at the Banjul mini sports stadium.
The historic event was kindly supported by the Banjul Breweries Ltd. and the Banjul Sports Association.
Lamin Ceesay, the President o The f Gambia Deaf Sports Association, GDSA, explained: “Generally, everything about deaf football is the same as football for hearing people.”
The only difference is that, as well as the referee having a whistle, which the hard of hearing people can hear, he also needs to have a flag to give a visual signal to the players.
As soon as there is a foul, the referee has to quickly wave the flag to alert the players to stop play.
In the event of a foul, the referee needs to be smart and quick to act, otherwise play continues and a goal might be scored.
The referee was Momodou Sanyang, and the coaches were Ousman Sainey for Brikama and Alhaji Jaju for KMC.
The spectators were not disappointed, both teams played well and it was an exciting game, even though the goals went in favour of KMC with final score of 4:1.
Mr. Ebou Faye of the Banjul Sports Association congratulated the players on their participation, and he and his colleagues awarded 3 sports kits as prizes to the best player Abdoulie Njie, best midfielder Bakary Mendy and best defender Sang Bass.
The event was not only a good day out for both players and spectators, but served as a more serious purpose too.
It helped raise money to support the Gambia Federation of the Disabled, the umbrella advocacy body working on behalf of people with disabilities in the Gambia, and it raised awareness of the skills of people with disabilities, this time in the sporting arena.
As one of the onlookers commented, “these players are just as good at football as anyone else, it’s impressive to see how they communicate and manage to work together as a team without being able to hear fully”, and hopefully that was the understanding that many of the Banjulians and supporters took away with them.
It was a positive event, and demonstrated once again that having a disability doesn’t mean that you have to limit your abilities.
To donate, or for more information about Gambia Federation of the Disabled’s work, please do contact them on 890 5368 or firstname.lastname@example.org