By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia Chess Federation (GCF) travelled to India to participate in the 44th Olympiad on 24th July 2022 to represent the Gambia without any government support. The 12-member delegation includes the head of the delegation, one voting member participating in elections and five male and female competitors participating in Chess Matches against other countries.
The delegation is expected to return to the Gambia upon the conclusion of the competition on 10th August 2022, however, they are in dire need of financial support to make their trip a success. Treasurer Lamin Jammeh explained how they requested for funding from the authorities in the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) to no avail.
According to the GCF Treasurer, their organisation is under the NSC and affiliated with the GNOC whom they sent their budget some three months before the trip. However, only the GNOC responded to their request explaining that they will not be able to fund their trip. Unfortunately, NSC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports did not respond to their request.
The GCF Representative explained that their organisation sent a budget totalling D1.7 million from the government. After waiting for over three months without a butut from the government the organisation wrote to the Federation International Chess (FIDE) who provided them D1.2 million to support their trip. Leaving them short by D500,000. This enabled them to pay for their main expenses of buying their flight tickets and securing their visas.
The GCF Treasurer explained that the delegates had to cover their own expenses for the Covid-19 Tests of D2,500 per person, airport security fees of D2,000 per person upon departure and arrival at the Banjul International Airport and Vaccination Cards for all the members amongst other expenses.
Some of these expenses like Covid 19 Tests fees, Vaccination Cards and even the Security Tax could have been waivered by the government as means of supporting the Organisation which would be representing the country on an international stage, however, that hasn’t happened.
The GCF Representative noted that usually, all participants benefit from an allowance of which half is provided before and the other half after the trip. Given the fact they have not received the required funds, this may not happen.
Asked if this was the first time their organisation had gone on such a trip to understand how previous trips were financed. Treasurer Jammeh explained that “the Gambia joined [FIDE] in 1976 and has travelled to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Norway and Canada in the past. Every four years the organisation attends one of the competitions”.
When asked how the organisation has been funded in the past, Treasurer Jammeh revealed that “in the past, they [NSC and GNOC] don’t directly fund us”. He noted that their recently formed Executive did not benefit from a proper handing over, however, their research revealed that the previous Executive used to acquire a loan for their trips, however, this arrangement could not be accepted by the current Executive.
The team departed for India on Sunday 24th July 2022 and is in dire need of financial support to enable them to fully concentrate on representing the Gambia to the best of their ability. Instead of worrying about how to get money to take care of their immediate needs.
They believe that “this is our government and we are going to represent the Gambia, our Country”. He also explained that its part of their requirements to wear the national colours, logo and flag to participate in the competition.
The Executive of the Gambia Chess Federation are mostly out of town and can be contacted via email or WhatsApp in the following contact details below for support.
- President – Mr Baye Nyass
- Vice President – Mr Mass Jeng – +220393 8009
- 2nd Vice President – Mr Amadou Mbacke
- Secretary General – Mr Ebrima Jammeh – +220996 6280
- Spokesperson – Pascal Periera
- Treasurer – Lamin Jammeh
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org