25 February 2006

GAMBIA: Sba Delegates Meet President Jammeh

The delegates of the Street Basketball Association (SBA) from the United States of America yesterday paid a courtesy call to the President of the Republic, Dr Alhagi Yahya Jammeh at State House in Banjul.

The SBA delegates used the occasion to present to the President the SBA President of The Year award. They also presented a special certificate to the President for his untiring commitment and support for the development of sports, particularly basketball in the country. In the same vein, the SBA donated 40 basketballs to the Gambia Basketball Federation (GBF) and 520 balls to the Gambia Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA).

Giving the background background of the Gambia basketball Federation (GBF), during the presentation ceremony, the Sos for Youth, Sports & Religious Affairs, Mr Samba Faal said: "GBF was the only federation apart from the success of the U17, to win a zone II trophy and other accolades in the 70s. GBF has since the 60s develop links with the USA, which is manifested by the Gambians who obtain scholarship to study in the US through their abilities in Basketball. Among them are Ousman Sabally, Aladine Joiner, Mam Essa Gaye who is currently the President of the basketball federation, among others. These people completed their education at highest levels and returned home to plough to the development of the country."

SoS Faal said that GBF, DOSYS and other US institutions continue to grant scholarship to deserving Gambian students to study in the US, two of whom have now graduated and are now professionals in Australia and Germany respectively. SoS Faal added that Gambian players have the talents but only lack the Technical Know How, adding that the coming of SBA will rekindle the trade of Basketball. "SBA will also help in the are of coaching and refereeing, and this will boost the game in the country. The American association will work closely with GBF in reviving the game and restore the love people has in basketball," he said.

For his part, Jerrod Mustaf, CEO and the founder of the renown SBA said: I will thank the President for inviting the SBA to The Gambia. President jammeh has accorded us the pri\privilege to come back to the land of our ancestors, and we are really grateful for the hospitality he accorded to us during our stay." Jerrod Mustaf also hails President jammeh for his developmental efforts in the eleven year of power, particularly in the area of education, women empowerment, sports among other sectors.

The vice President, Dr Ajaratou Isatou Njie Saidy described SBA's presence in The Gambia as building the bridge between USA and Gambia through the unifying tool of sports. She commended Jerrod Mustaf and his team for visit the Gambia and their quest to revive the game of basketball in the country which is considered as the haven of Africa.

Reacting to their magnanimous gesture, the President of the republic, Dr alhagi Yahya Jammeh said: "Apart from sports, I want young african-Americans to acquire first hand information about Africa and what is being said about the continent." President recalled the late 70s when basketball used to be the most unique game in the country. He said he will give his untiring support to revive the basketball as well as other sporting disciplines. President Jammeh said he would like basketball to register the success in few years to come and be able to excel in the international arena. Jammeh however, said that success can only be achieved if their is interest, inspiration and commitment, adding that success is achieved through hard \work and dedication. The Gambian leader advises the SBA members to remain united and work in the best spirit of brother hood. He also advised them to preserve peace which he describe as the most valuable thing in life. He added that the SBa awards to him will serve as an inspiration to him and will commit him to strengthen his support to not only basketball but also to other sporting disciplines.
President Jammeh, who manifested his commitment to the game by personally rehabilitating the Manneh memorial lawn, Gambia High School and a basketball court in Sate House urged the department of state for education and Youth & Sports to rehabilitate the Saints Augustine lawn and rehabilitate and build other basketball lawns in the country.

The presentation ceremony was attended by the Secretaries of State, members of the Gambia Secondary School Sports Association, members of the GBF, among other government officials.

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