A delegation of Sports Journalists was in Dakar, on the invitation of their counterparts, for the latter's annual sports awards night held on Saturday in Dakar, Senegal.
The delegation was led by Musa Sise, President of the Sports Journalists' Association of The Gambia.
Over the years, the two associations have enjoyed fruitful cooperation. The two have attended each other's awards nights, which celebrate past and present sports personalities in the respective countries.
As part of efforts to strengthen the bond among the members through football, on Friday, the two associations played a friendly football match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The relationship between the two has been described, at the multilateral level, as a role model for other bordering countries. Also in Dakar for the event was The Gambia's Sports Minister Hadrammeh Sidibeh.
Senegal and The Gambia are also members of the global sports press association (AIPS), founded in 1924.
On the side-lines of the awards night, the two sports ministers of The Gambia and Senegal, Hadrammeh Sidibeh and Matarr Bah respectively had a fruitful meeting with the executive committees of both sports journalists' association of The Gambia and Senegal. The meeting focused on how to strengthen the relations between sports ministries and the sports journalists for the promotion and progress of sports in the two countries. The meeting took place at Terrou Bi Hotel in Dakar.
Both Abdoulie Thiam and Musa Sise, Presidents of both associations renewed their commitment to strengthening the already existing bilateral ties between the associations and members.
Promoting sports development is among the top agenda of the associations. However, this will be difficult without the support of the sports ministries.
The duo described sports as a uniting tool and a great contributor socio-economic development of countries.
Abdoulie Thiam, President of ANPS was full of praises for Senegalese Sports Minister Matarr Ba for his support to his association.
Senegal's Sports Minister Matarr Ba, while acknowledging the role of sports journalism for the progress of any sports in any country, urges his Gambian counterpart, Hadrammeh Sidibeh, to recognise the sports journalists as critical partners. He implored on him to give all the needed support to SJAG. "I hope this will open a new page in the SJAG-Sports Ministry relations."
Minister Ba said the two countries are one, but divided by colonial rule. According to him, there is a possibility for The Gambia and Senegal to jointly host African Cup of Nations and other sporting events.
"The success of Senegal could not have been possible without the journalists. Sports is an important tool to promote peace and unity in the region. President Macky Sall has high regards for the sports journalists. Sports journalists are worth supporting because there is nothing to unite two factions more than sports.
For his part, The Gambia's Sports Minister Hadrammeh Sidibeh, said there is a lot his country can learn from Senegal's success sport stories. While praising the SJAG President Musa Sise's for his commitment to sports development, he gave assurance of his support to SJAG.
"The Gambia can gain a lot from Senegal, in terms of capacity building. He expressed readiness to support the association to better promote sports. I am ready to work with and support them."
Musa Sise, President of SJAG, thanked Matarr Ba for his humility and support to sports journalism. "I hope the Gambia's Sports Ministry will learn from their Senegalese counterparts and give the needed support to the sports journalism."
SJAG, he told the meeting, is very, is very much committed to sports promotion and development, while appealing for sports ministry to give support the body.
Present at the ANPS awards night, included Coach Aliou Cisse, Baba Omar Traore, President of Malian Sports Journalists' Association, who were all recognised with awards. Among the winners were Senegal and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane and wrestler Modou Lo.
In return, SJAG presented 'koras' as gifts to Senegal's Sports Minister Matar Ba, and Former ANPS President Mamadou Koume.