24 July 2014


Stand by for Standard FC in Gunjur

It is not always that a football team shed off its name to adopt another. But that is exactly t what NAS FC, one of the most fascinating football teams in the Gunjur nawettan has done. And again for good reason. They are now called Standard FC, after this very medium. According to the Belgium-based founder and former head coach Alieu 'Mourinho' Jabang, the decisions for the name change came because: "The Standard newspaper is one of the leading newspapers in the country that is increasingly serving the reading public and its stand in the welfare of youth development in the country and the wider world is no secret to those who follow the paper. So we believe partnering with them and using their name will only bring us the progress we desire''. History NAS was first known as the Young Farmers Association, a community-based organisation of young people, mainly teenagers including both boys and girls. “Our aim was to empower youths and sensitise them to abstain from drugs, harmful intoxicants, teenage pregnancy and other negative social vices since July 26th 2002. I was a teenager myself at the time that I formed the association together with some friends,” Jabang said. He further disclosed that in order to keep the interest of young people alive, a decision was made to venture into sport as a quick way of bringing people together. “This was what led to the formation of Young Farmers Football Club in the same year (2002) and later renamed NAS Football Club in 2008,” he said. The team reached the last eight of both the Gunjur nawettan league and knockout in their debutant year in the senior category after a glittering trophy laden spell in the junior nawettan. According to Jabang playing football in other areas enabled them to create friendships with other youths especiallyi n Kombo South, North, East and Central. Other influences The membership also expanded beyond the frontiers of Gunjur and even to the diaspora, numbering over 175 people excluding the board of trustees and management which is made up of influential people. Mr Jabang added that the team was through other activities able to produce very productive youths whose participation and contribution towards the development of their community and the country at large is immeasurable. “Most of these youth are now teachers, nurses, journalists, laboratory technicians, businessmen/women, professional tailors, carpenters, electricians, architects, youth and gender advocates and a would-be-lawyer in the near future. I also want to use this opportunity to thank The Standard newspaper for accepting us as well as our fans, and well-wishers,” he concluded. Commenting on these developments, the sports editor at The Standard Lamin Cham said. “This is a pleasant piece of news and in fact a mark of respect for the paper and we look forward to meeting with the team and working in partnership. Their achievements are already commendable.”

UK MP who visited Gambia last year appointed Under Secretary for Transport

Claire Perry, the conservative MP for Devizes County constituency who visited Gunjur in 2013 and supports its link with Marlborough, has been appointed Under Secretary of Transport in the UK. The link between Marlborough and Gunjur was established by the Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG) in 1981. So far 1,600 people have been on exchange visits between the two communities. Commenting on her promotion, she said: “I am so looking forward to being part of the Department for Transport and rebuilding Britain's infrastructure.” Though United Kingdom is thousands of miles away from the south Gambian coastal town, the promotion of the “friend of Gunjur”, Ms Perry, in the cabinet reshuffle by British Prime Minister David Cameron has caused a buzz. The head of women in Gunjur, Aja Mai Kebbeh, reacted: “Our hearts are filled with joy at this promotion for Claire. We met her when she came here with her daughter and Nick Maurice last year. We were so touched that she had taken the trouble to come down here to see what we were doing and the challenges we faced in our work. She clearly sympathises with the women and people of Gunjur and committed herself to supporting the link that has improved the livelihoods of the people of Gunjur over many years through projects. “She took the time to visit the women's gardens, the rice milling machines and the nursery school among other interventions meant to support development in Gunjur. The mere fact that she had attained the position of a member of parliament at the time was a great example to the women of Gunjur - young and old - to continue our quest for greater empowerment. We pray for her greater success in her bid to serve her people and humanity at large.” The co-founder and director of Gunjur Marlborough link, Dr Nick Maurice (OBE) enunciated: “Her visit to Gunjur has given greater encouragement to our colleagues and friends in our partner non-governmental organisation TARUD, the Gunjur Link Committee and the wider community of Gunjur - and has particularly brought a feeling of solidarity with women in the community.”

Gambian president calls for end to illegal migration

Amid mounting concerns about the increasing exodus of Gambian youths through illegal migration to Europe ,president Jammeh has called on them to stay put and avail themselves of “numerous opportunities” created by two decades of his rule. Addressing the nation as he marked twenty years at the helms,he stated:“At the center of all our efforts to attain economic superpower status is the youth who constitute a high percentage of our population. Instead of embarking on perilous journeys to reach Europe illegally, the youth should take advantage of the numerous opportunities created by government for decent and honourable living .The University of The Gambia was established to cater for the human capital development needs of our country. Today, the University has graduated many young Gambians in various fields of specialisation relevant to our development needs. When the UTG main campus in Faraba-Banta is complete, more disciplines relevant to our economic development will be introduced. Apart from the UTG, we have encouraged the establishment of many tertiary institutions for middle level skills development programme and thankfully, these institutions are producing technicians for businesses and industry". At least 27 of the 45 illegal migrants found dead in a boat on its way to Italy last month were Gambian,Gambian police sources confirmed.Investigation by Italian police confirmed they were apparently killed by toxic fumes from the boat's engine. He added:"The Ministry of Trade therefore formulated the National Industrial Policy in 1998 to provide strategic direction for the expansion of production and promotion of value addition in sectors with high employment and growth potential. The Ministry has also formulated the National Trade Policy, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Policy, and Employment Policy, all of which are essential to promote economic growth and development.The Gambia has ample business opportunities in the areas of agro-forestry, fisheries and petroleum and through the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) we will continue to expose and market these opportunities at home and abroad”. Gambians youths have been leaving for Libya traveling through the desert and the Mediterranean in search of a better life.Sadly many do not make it or find life in Europe fundamentally different from what they expected.