The Director of Marketing and Communications at the Gambia Football Federation, Baboucarr Camara said the GFF is disappointed with the decision by the Confederation of African football to dismiss Gambia’s appeal case against the eligibility of a Togolese player.
“We’re disappointed because we still believe that we have a genuine case. The fact that Togo admitted Mr. Olufade’s double registration in the CMS is an administrative error, later corroborated by CAF, is enough ground for us to win the case,” he said.
Citing a CAF rule, Camara said for any administrative error in the registration of players, the national team concerned would be suspended for two years and dismiss from the current competition if it’s still ongoing.
However, in their second attempt to convince Caf that James Olufade is Nigerian and isn’t eligible to represent the Togolese national team, the GFF said in a letter that in the match form provided by Togo, his name is listed Adewale Olufade, but in the Caf system he is registered as James Adewale Olufade and his date of birth as 21 August 1994. Olufade 24, represented Togo on two occasions, one in their 0-0 draw with Benin and the other one with Gambia.
On Wednesday, Caf responded with a statement on their website after their Appeal Board meeting and it read as follows:
“On 13th January 2019, CAF Disciplinary Board decided to dismiss the protest lodged by the GFF and confirm eligibility of player James Adewale Olufade for the match no. 86: Gambia vs. Togo which was played in the frame of the TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers 2019. The decision was communicated to GFF on 21st January 2019.
“On 23rd January 2019 Gambia FF has appealed the decision of the CAF Disciplinary Board. Considering CAF statutes, regulations and Disciplinary Code; the Appeal Board decided as follows:
1. Declare the Appeal of Gambia Football Federation admissible in law;
2. Declare the Appeal of The Gambia Football Federation inadmissible in substance;
3. Confirm the decision of CAF Disciplinary Board with regard to the eligibility of player James Adewale Olufade to represent Togo national team.
Gambia‘s complaint followed a 1-1 draw with Togo in Group D of the AFCON qualifiers. Countries in the group include Algeria and Benin.
The Scorpions are currently bottom in their group with five points, just below Togo on goal difference. They’re just two points away from second-placed Benin, who Togo will face in their next game. The Gambia will travel to face Algeria in March for the final round of the qualifiers.