By Buba Gagigo
President Adama Barrow has on Monday presented a cheque of D11.1M to the senior National Team but none of the said players attended the event, according to a letter addressed to the federation president from the players.
The players are said to have declined the president’s invitation to receive the cheque in the letter obtained and published by the BBC earlier on Monday.
They boycotted the event amid a row over the payment of match bonus following their qualification to the AFCON for the first time.
“The team would like to thank His Excellency for the invitation but would kindly decline the invitation to meet and the money offered,” the letter stated.
“For the players, playing for The Gambia has never been primarily about money. Instead, it was always about flying the Gambian flag higher and making the Gambian people proud.
“The players had always been happy to answer calls to play for the national team without expecting or asking for anything in return, regardless of the difficulties that sometimes come with it.
“Football is a game of incentives. Having qualified to compete in next year’s African cup of Nations for the first time in Gambian history.
“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 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.
“If the GFF accepts the offer it would not be doing so on behalf of the players.
“We hope that going forward, the players would be given enough motivation as the preparations for the African cup continue,” the players said in a statement published by BBC.
Despite them (the players) boycott the even, the president gave the money through GFF president Lamin Kabba Bajo. In same even he presented 2.5 million to the U20 and 500,000 to the U-19 volleyball team,” the BBC story added.
The Gambia qualified for Nations Cup due in Cameroon in January next year. They have finished on top of their group leading Gabon, DR Congo and Angola.