The cancellation of the GFF Leagues, both male and female due to the coronavirus pandemic, has been met with mixed reactions from football club presidents and stakeholders.
The Gambia Football Federation announced on Thursday that the season would be brought to an end and that all matches from the 2019-20 season have been expunged, meaning no promotion or relegation for any clubs.
The GFF also said the current first and Second position holders in the First Division League will be accorded the opportunity to represent the country in the next CAF Inter-Clubs Competitions.
However, there had been disagreement in the league circles as to how the season should be concluded, with some advocating for a champion to be crowned while others felt the best way forward was to make it null and void.
“For me, GFF’s decision has well represented the football community, “said Saul Sowe, President of Waa Banjul football club. “Since only one game is played in the second round, I think it’s wise not to declare a winner and have the 1st and 2nd position teams representing The Gambia in CAF club competitions if they can afford to.
“The possible annulment of the super Nawettan and team’s not gaining promotion is rather unfortunate but with current circumstances of global crisis one can’t take a decision that is pleasing to all.”
“The best decision the GFF could have done was to crown league leaders Real De Banjul as champions and declare GAF, the second team on the log as FF Cup winners, “says Zakaria Jallow, an ardent national league follower. “We all know that football cannot be played at this moment. In this case, promote two teams from the 2nd division to increase the teams in the 1st division to 16, “he said. Then, promote the top two teams from the 3rd division league that would replace the already promoted two teams.”
Basirou Bajo, President of Berrewuleng, a female team in the 2nd Division said, “Having nullified the league is one thing, but how about the teams in the 3rd division, “he asked? Those teams should really be compensated by the GFF, “he said. They’ve done well by assisting clubs with some funds, but there’s more to be done to make sure that all teams are well prepared before October.”
Team Rhino FC are one club whose promotion hopes have been hit by the decision to end the season early but President Mustapha Jallow feels that making the campaign null and void will allow everyone to have a fresh start.
“We were determined to finish the season, but our health and safety comes first and it’s more important than playing football at the moment, “Jallow said. So I think the decision by the GFF to nullify the season makes sense.”
“I think it’s a good idea to nullify the league at this moment, “said Choro Mbenga of Red Scorpions. During this difficult time, we should work together with the federation and prepare for next season. No matter what, our health should be priority.”
“I think it is too premature to nullify the league, “says Yankuba Darboe of PSV Wellingara. “I will rather suggest they wait until the end of the year. Nobody wishes for this but since that is the case the plan should be revisited. Teams has spent lot of resources, energy and time.”