A week-long training course for over a dozen of Gambian football referees got underway yesterday, at the Friendship Hotel housed at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.
Dubbed the “High Level FIFA Refereeing Course”, the training is jointly organised by the Gambia Football Association in collaboration with the world football’s governing body (FIFA).
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the president of the Gambia Football Association, Seedy Kinteh, said the program, which is the first in the past three years, is aimed at improving the impartiality and efficiency of the Gambian referees to meet the growing challenges of the game.
Kinteh said the Gambia Football Association, under his leadership, continues to enjoy massive development and training program from FIFA, noting that similar courses are in the pipeline for football coaches, administrators, women football and sports medicine in 2009.
The GFA supremo revealed that the referees committee, under the guidance of Alhagi Omar Sey and Alhagi Badou Jasseh, had constantly renewed itself and expanded its mission in training, selection, designation and supervision of referees.
“The leadership of Sey and Jasseh and many others before them made a valuable contribution to the society by nurturing the likes of Malick Sillah and Modou Sowe and host of others who represented the Gambia in the major international competitions with outstanding results,” he said.
Still citing referees Sillah and Sowe as examples, the GFA president said the Gambian referees continue to break new ground in the FIFA and CAF sanctioned matches due largely to the country’s vibrant grass root development.
He also hailed the high profile and significant progress registered in the past three years with the graduation of 4 retired referees as CAF referee’s instructors capable of conducting local training courses in refereeing.
In conclusion, Seedy Kinteh cautioned the participants to make good use of the training in a bid to advance the noble trade further.
“We must all appreciate the fact that the job of the referee is a difficult and complicated one and I urge you to use this forum as a market place of ideas with flawless determination in advancing this noble profession further,” he said.
The training course, which is being directed by Mr Joseph Wellington, a Ghanaian born FIFA instructor, gathers 26 referees from the Gambia’s premier league.