The Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie has assured government's commitment to issues of youth as well as his readiness to continue to make sports development a national priority by creating the enabling policy environment, development and funding initiatives that will reduce challenges young people face and advance our great country.
Badjie was speaking on Saturday during the laying of foundation stone of a mini-stadium worth D7.9 million in Fulabantang village in Central River Region.
"We as a ministry believed that development has to be community driven and community owned. That is the only way we can ensure project investments are worthwhile. I am happy that the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports is about to fulfill one of the needs of youth of this district- the construction of a mini-stadium to be used by not just youth of Fulabantang, but all surrounding villages in this part of Central River Region," he further stated.
He added that the project is funded by the government of The Gambia and that the construction and other works are expected to be completed in six months.
"This project and many of its kind the ministry plans to embark upon in the coming months and years are in line with government policy of decentralising sporting activities, ensuring sports development at local level through the development of infrastructure across the country."
He assured that as a ministry they are committed to ensuring that young people in the rural part of the country enjoy similar modern facilities as those in urban areas.
We want every region in this country to produce star athletics that can participate and win competition at both local and international levels.
"Facilities like these has the potential to empower young people, improve economic activities in this village and contribute towards it growth. We are hopeful that the activities that will take place here have the potential to identify, develop and harness talents, create employment and other opportunities in sports.
Sports are not just supposed to be for leisure, they are lucrative business that has the potential to change lives of athletics, their families and communities.
It also develops economies of a country. Such grassroots development of sporting facilities will have huge returns in the near future and contribute towards the progress of sports in The Gambia, minister Badjie also said.
Ebrima J. Cham, CEO of Gam Engineering, said the community football field will have a pitch, borehole, perimeter fencing for security, admin office, male and female toilets, VIP toilets, changing rooms, shower, guard room, store and concrete benches.
"Definitely, with these things named above, it is evident that this construction will be an above standard mini-stadium," he said.
He thanked The Gambia government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Fulabantang Saikou Mballow, presidential youth adviser, said the project is very important to not only Fulabantang but to the entire CRR region.
He added that this shows how Gambian leader Adama Barrow is trying to decentralise sports across all regions in the country and not only within Greater Banjul Area.
"This project will encourage matches to be moved from the Greater Banjul to CRR. It would also help in terms of income generation for youth and the village," he said.
Abbas Sanyang, governor of Central River Region expressed delight for having such a project for youth in his region. He called on government for more and similar projects across other regions.
Yerro Mballow, former National Assembly Member for Fulabantang, said there has been a lot of negative comments about bringing the project to Fulabantang, noting that Fulabantang is one of the region that puts sports in the heart of the regions development agenda.
"This mini-stadium is going to be an example compare to the other regions across the country. Fulabantang is the fifth oldest school in the country, meaning that we have been having sports in our hearts for many years," he said.
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