The President of The Gambia Football Federation (GFF), Lamin Kaba Bajo, has strongly responded to allegations made by the Gabonese football delegation. The allegations attracted massive international media attention.
Most of the facts on the allegations relied on Arsenal and Gabon captain, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s version on social media.
“I also want to be on record to inform the general public that neither their (Gabonese) advance party team nor their ambassador or minister’s arrival details were communicated to us. So, we were not aware of them arriving into the country. All we knew is that they were in mailing list but when they were arriving we never knew,” Mr. Bajo said.
He also added that not getting any information about their arrivals led to them not being accorded the necessary protocol.
“Worse of all about this incident is, the advance party came into the country to prepare the ground for the match. They came without any call or even contacting the GFF. They did everything on their own without consulting us. Which is very unprecedented in football,” he said.
“The CAF rules unequivocally states that any individual who is departing from a country or an area of or transiting through a country or area with current covid-19 community transmission status, must provide confirmation of a negative PRC test result. The test must be conducted no earlier than 72 hours before departure,” he added.
Mr. Bajo also said during this pandemic, countries have their own standard practice for those entering their country. He further noted that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has adopted its own requirements with regard to covid-19. There is a mandatory test in line with FIFA standards and protocols.
The GFF President also said that the new CAF rules subject delectation, match officials and match appointees to mandatory PCR test. The rule stipulates that the test must be conducted no earlier than 48 hours before the match. The test must also be made available 2 hours before departure for the stadium.
Bajo further stated that every member of the Gambian delegation flew into Gabon on time and with negative covid-19 test results. He also acknowledged that they were subjected to two separate tests; both at the airport and at the hotel while in Gabon.
The GFF President further said that all their attempts to ensure Gabonese nationals were properly received did not succeed. The Gabonese side failed to communicate.
“Apart from the regulation, we should provide them with a bus and a second vehicle for their officials. Our vehicles were left abandoned because they went and made their own arrangement without consulting us,” he said.
He also noted that they instructed the General Secretary to write to CAF to inform them about their frustration for the Gabonese delegation.
They did not communicate on their arrival time. He also added that all they wanted was to try and avoid the possibility of any lapses on their side regarding their arrival into the country.