The inaugural Gambia Football Federation Awards Night on Saturday featured a very special tribute to Gambia’s most famous footballing ambassador. The legendary Momodou ‘Biri Biri’ Njie was warmly applauded by the audience when he received the President’s Award in recognition of his dazzling career and achievements.
For more than two decades Biri was an icon of Gambian football, thrilling not only fans of his Wallidan side, considered among the greatest club teams ever assembled in Gambian football, but also supporters of rival outfits. He became an icon at a time when football did not receive the fanfare it enjoys today.
In 1963, Biri became the youngest player to ever play for The Gambia in what is still remembered as the last time The Gambia beat Senegal by three goals to two with all three goals emanating from the football prodigy, Biri Biri. He played against teams from Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Côte d’ Ivoire, and Sierra Leone and was very well known, admired and respected in all these countries. “We the Senegalese have so much love and admiration for Biri,” says Amadou Diop former captain of the Senegalese national football team. “He has not only made Gambians proud, but the entire African continent. He was a big man in every sense on the field.”
Ebou Faye, the 2nd Vice President of The Gambia Football Federation emphasized the importance of Biri for future generations and in paving the way for those who would go on to win the President’s Award. “Biri was a complete footballer,” Faye said. “The Gambia is still searching for a player like this, it won’t be easy to find his march.”
The Awards Night aims to recognize the selfless service, dedication and commitment of past Presidents and General Secretaries of The Gambia Football Federation. However, the night also culminated in the formal naming of Blocks at the National Technical Training Center in Yundum.
In announcing the adopted names, Awards Committee Chairman, Ebou Faye, first cited the reason for such an honor “due to their tremendous and sacrificial work they have done in football in the Gambia”, the GFF decided to name the facilities at the National Technical Training Center in Yundum after the following people:
GFF Football Hotel Hall: Alhagie O.B. Conateh
GFF Administration and Technical Block: Alhagie Houssainou M.M. Njie
GFF Football Main Building: Alhagie Omar Sey
Artificial Turf Pitch at NTTC: Alhagie Ousaman Saho
Grass Pitch at NTTC: Alhagie Momodou ‘Biri Biri’ Njie.
The GFF Communications Dept contributed to this story