The Embassy of the United States of America in The Gambia, last Thursday donated over 12,000 footballs to schools in the country. The ceremony was held at the Alliance Francaise on the Kairaba Avenue.
The presentation was held in the form of a public viewing to celebrate the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where the Stripes are among the 32 nations all hoping to land the big trophy on July 13th at the Maracana Stadium.
The footballs that were given to 10 schools according to the Embassy are part of its efforts in celebrating and promoting grassroots football in the country. The donation was also done in partnership with One World Football Project, and the balls, it is hoped, will benefit the schools.
Speaking on the fringes of the presentation, the Charge d’ Affairs at the Embassy, Richard Yoneoka told the schools’ physical education teachers that the footballs are meant for the schools and on no account should they be given to individual students.
He disclosed that they launched the project as part of their support to grassroots football in The Gambia, promising to make similar donations to other schools across the country.
Yoneoka further noted that football (referred to as soccer in the US) has contributed immensely to the development of the youth as it teaches them discipline, achievement and team work.
The technical director of the Gambia Football Federation, Ebrima Manneh described the donation as a laudable initiative from the Embassy. Manneh also disclosed that the Embassy has already started partnership with the Football Federation for the general development of the sport in the country.
He commended the Americans for their commitment to the promotion of grassroots sports in The Gambia, and informed that the Embassy has also pledged to help develop and finance women’s football development in the country.
According to him, football as a sport is meant to fulfill people’s potentials and to bring them together. He went on to note that the Federation, under the leadership of Mustapha Kebbeh, hopes to increasing participation in football and also to give opportunity to those who want to make the sport a career.
Muhammed Bassy, physical education teacher at Gambia Methodist Academy, on behalf of the beneficiaries thanked the US Embassy for the gesture, noting that the footballs will go a long way in promoting grassroots and school football.