On Thursday 27 December 2012, the victorious Gambia under-20 volleyball team met with officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports at the Friendship Hostel main hall.
The meeting was meant largely to congratulate and celebrate the historic victory of the national volleyball team in the recently concluded Zone II volleyball tournament in Dakar, Senegal.
This championship is also the zonal qualification round for the Continental Championship which is to be held in Tunisia early March 2013.
The tournament was attended by four countries, namely The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Senegal.
In his opening statement, the chairman of the programme, Bai Dodou Jallow, congratulated the players and team officials on their significant victory, which is unprecedented in the history of volleyball in this country.
He gave a brief history and background on the developments leading to this victory.
The Gambia Volleyball Association, he said, has in the last four years encouraged the development of volleyball academies in Banjul, Old Jeshwang, Serrekunda East and in Brikama.
These academies are working with young boys and girls in the development of the required volleyball skills and talents with the vision to help properly put the development of the game in the right perspective.
These academies have been recruiting talents and the players in this dream team are all products of these institutions.
This, coupled with the training given to coaches in all these academies, according to Mr Jallow, is what is currently paying off.
Bai Dodou thanked all the stakeholders, especially the Government, for the creation of the enabling environment and for the support in this crusade.
In his statement, Casa Taal, president of the Gambia Volleyball Association, reveled on the great victory and thanked the team for their wonderful performance.
He promised to continue to give the necessary support to ensure continuity of the performance.
He also called on all stakeholders to rally behind this team as there is a lot of potential in store for the future.
The head coach of the team, Ebrima Nyass, gave account of the team's performance during the tournament.
According to him, the team won all their matches. The Gambia team beat Guinea Bissau 3 sets to zero, Guinea Conakry 3 sets to zero and Senegal 3 sets to one.
The team went on to beat Senegal again in the final by 3 sets to one, thereby leading the group and automatically qualifying as the representative for the zone in the African Championship.
The Executive Secretary of the National Sports Council congratulated the players and the officials for this victory.
According to him, these boys made this country proud and Government will support the team in its pursuit for more glory in the Continental Championship.
Ebou Faye, Stadium Manager, expressed his delight and congratulated the boys on this achievement.
He said that for many years now all the celebrations in the country's sports domain have been on football but today, thanks to this team, volleyball is also being celebrated.
Mr Faye urged the players to maintain their disciplinary approach and continue to work hard.
Momodou Demba of the GNOC also echoed the points made by the earlier speakers. He also indicated the need for the current development to be sustained
Mr Demba disclosed that the GNOC has registered volleyball for the upcoming Islamic Games and the Commonwealth Games to be held in Indonesia and Scotland respectively.
Malang Jasseh, who sat in for the Hon. Minister of Sport, thanked the team for giving the ministry and the entire Gambian public a nice Christmas and New Year gift.
He expressed the resolve of the Ministry to support the team to take part in the continental championship in Tunisia.
He expressed the need to diversify sport in the country, which is fundamental focus for the Hon. Minister.
He promised to forward the trophy to the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports for onward forwarding to His Excellency the President of the Republic.
The team will continue training at the PIU Volleyball court in Kanifing. They will be playing a host of local test matches in a bid to have a good preparation ahead of the African Championship in Tunisia.