By Mandu Sanneh
Fourteen Gambian football referees were on Monday 23 January, 2012 internationally accredited by the world football governing body Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in a ceremony held at the Gambia Football Association (GFA) secretariat.
Three central referees, eight assistant referees in the male category and one female central and two assistant referees were for the first time in the history of Gambian football referring given FIFA accreditation badges to officiate in any FIFA international game.
The accredited referees are: Ansu Jatta, Mawdo Jallow, Bakary Camara, Decoreh Jawo, Musa Jawara, Sulayman Touray, Sulayman Sosseh, Salief Baldeh, Karamo Force, Yaya Fanneh, Mariatou, Jobarteh, Amie Ceesay, and Isatou Bah.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the acting chairman of Gambia referees committee Lamin Camara, described the moment as important in the history of The Gambian referees, saying the country has produced a lot of referees in the past and present years.
“This is the first time, a large number of referees in The Gambia to be recognised by FIFA which they have been looking for.
“We will still continue to work hard with our young once, our next target will be the next cup of nations as one of our colleagues is currently in Gabon officiating matches in the 2012 AFCON and we wish him good luck there,” Camara said.
Camara, the acting chairman of the referees highlighted funding as their problem and he is appealing for help from the football governing body in the country to support them financially.
A veteran referee Alagie Faye advised the accredited referees to be serious on their job. “Is an enjoyable day for all the referees in the country, to get badges is not enough you should always obey and respect your instructors,” said Faye.
He went on urging them to defend your badges by keeping their feet on the ground, telling them to train hard, read their books and watch their video cassettes always and approach their instructors for any difficulties.
Modou Max Jallow, who was speaking on behalf of the accredited referees, commended all those who were present at the ceremony and urged the referees to work harder.