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Women and Girls Football on the Rise in The Gambia

Girls symposium organised by the GFF

The Chairperson of the Women’s Football Committee at The Gambia Football Federation, Sainabou Cham said there’s been a recent massive shift in the number of women and girls playing football in The Gambia.

She was speaking to The Chronicle during the Women’s Football Symposium and Festival this week at the GFF National Technical Training Centre in Yundum.

“Three thousand and two hundred women are currently playing in the national league compare to previous years when we have just had 2, 200 women playing active football,” she said.

Sainabou Cham

“We also have a huge number of girls actively involved in football now. I think it is important to show the progress that we’ve made. The women’s game has made huge progress over the years.

The symposium was part of a daylong activities initiated by The Gambia Football Federation.

Cham said with more girls and women playing, the game has rapidly been making strides, and commended the GFF leadership for placing the women’s game top on their football development agenda.

She also saluted other stakeholders responsible for the rise of women and girls’ participation in football.

Sainabou Cham with football officials at the girls symposium

“We’ve got a partnership with the German Olympic Federation and The Gambia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports which is providing opportunities for children to play football. What we’ve seen is that nearly half of the children coming on our programs are now girls. This is a massive change.

The goal of the football symposium was to build girls’ interests in football as a form of play. But beyond football, it was also about providing them with positive tools to set goals in life and to overcome challenges.

“I grew up loving football. When I was younger, I used to follow my brothers to the field to watch them play,” said Mabintou Sanneh, a grade 9 student at Tallinding Upper Basic School and one of the participants.

Mabintou Sanneh

She currently plays for a 2nd Division team Raptim FC in the National Female League and her hope is to break into the national squad.

“I believe that I have the skills and ability to be a very good player for The Gambia,” Mabintou told The Chronicle.

“Events such as this symposium can help young girls like me to reach our full potential. Girls can fight for their dreams through football.” 

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