Gambian Players, First to Qualify the Country to African Cup of Nations, Boycotts Meeting President over low March Bonuses.
The players of The Gambia National football team, widely accredited for giving the country its first-ever qualification to the African Cup of Nations have officially written to the President of The Gambia Football Federation, indicating their refusal to honor the invitation by the President, Mr. Adama Barrow.
The decision by the players to decline the invitation came few days after local media outlets widely circulated reports that the Government has budgeted the sum of eleven million dalasis (approximately $215,000) to be shared among the players and staff of the federation, something the players reportedly considered to be “an insult.” The Presidency in Banjul was scheduled to meet with the players on Monday, reports say.
In the letter seen by BBC, the players reportedly informed the President of the Football Federation that “the team would like to thank His Excellency for the invitation but would kindly decline the invitation to meet and the money offered.”
While insisting in the said letter that monetary gain wasn’t the primary reason that motivates the team to play for the nation, the players point out that “the team deserves to be given a bonus that would motivate the players and every child who dreams of playing for the Gambia someday.”
The Gambia reached the African Cup of Nations tournament for the first time in the footballing history of the country after defeating Angola by a goal to nil at home ground on Thursday, 25th March earlier this year. However, “the team feels that the respect and motivation given to the players fall below what it is supposed to be. For that reason, the players unanimously decided to decline the invitation” the letter contained.
The Gambia Football Federation has not immediately reacted to the news widely received with shock across social media in The Gambia.