By Cherno Omar Bobb
Lamin King Colley, presidential candidate for this month’s elections for the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) executive has released his manifesto, which among other things, aims to change the narratives by supporting national sports associations with an annual subvention as well as increasing the number of athletes to represent The Gambia in international games and improve the country’s performance.
The GNOC is set to hold its election in less than a week (on 27th November 2021).
Below is the full text of King Colley’s manifesto for the 2021-2024 quadrennial.
“Team King Colley for Athletes Centered Development”
The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) was established and affiliated to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1976. The GNOC a non-profit Olympic organization is the national Olympic body for The Gambia .It is responsible for preparing and sending athletes on behalf of The Gambia to International competitions or games that are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, the Commonwealth Games Federation as well as the Islamic Solidarity Games and ANOCA.
The mission of The GNOC is to develop and protect the Olympic movement in The Gambia in accordance with the Olympic Charter and in order to fulfill this mission, the GNOC pledges to co-operate with Government and non- governmental bodies, and shall not under any circumstances associate with any activity which would contradict the Olympic Charter.
Membership of the GNOC
The GNOC is composed of 29 national sports organizations. Eighteen of these are Olympic sports and 11 are non-Olympic sports. These sports organizations are actively organizing national competitions in their respective domains and they all usually present teams representing The Gambia in their various international competitions. The GNOC should supports all sports associations affiliated to them and should help directly during preparation for qualification games such as the Olympic Games.
Profile of Lamin King Colley – Presidential Candidate of the 2021 GNOC Elections
Mr. Lamin King Colley, Presidential Candidate for the forthcoming GNOC Elections is a Police Commissioner heading the Traffic Unit of The Gambia Police Force. Mr. Colley has a distinguished career in sports leadership and management. He has served as the Chairman of the National Sports Council, one of the highest offices in sports in the country from 2013 to 2016. During these three years period King Colley amongst others was able to provide seven NSAs with office space within the structure at the Independence Stadium. This has helped the benefitting NSAs with an address but also with an office for their respective administrative works. Mr Colley has served as President of Brikama Sports Committee for a period spanning 10 years 2001 – 2011. During this period, his leadership provided the formation of Brikama United Football club. This Football club rose to the country’s 1st Division and has already been a Champion of The Gambia top flight football. The team is now among the top clubs in the 1st Division of the country. He also helped establish an artificial turf at the Box Bar football Stadium in Brikama, which is now among the best football grounds in the country. Commissioner Colley was also able to obtain 500 metres square land in Brikama for football and sports fields and courts. The land was provided by Brikama Council of elders. King Colley also served as 2nd Vice President of the Gambia Football Association from 2009 to 2011. He was part of a team that helped bring many football glories to the Gambia. Mr Colley is also renown for reaching out and helping various sports associations. He has sponsored trophies and consolation prizes during the National Championship of many national sports associations. Mr. Colley has built huge interest in the affairs of the GNOC after he realized that, the Management of the NOC has been hijacked by few individuals. He has strong understanding of the GNOC constitution and the dictates of the Olympic Charter. His ambition to bring progressive changes to the GNOC is clear from the beginning of his quest for leadership of the institution. He is now ready and has a strong team backing him in the elections.
Mr. Colley is the President of Combined Services Sports Association.
Guiding Principles of Team Lamin King Colley
Openness and transparency- Team Lamin King Colley will be guided with openness to its general membership. Relevant communications will be shared with all members at the necessary time and with clarity. The GNOC management and structures will work in a transparent environment. Issues concerning the NOC will be put on discussions and members will be given the opportunity through various means to take part and also see the process involved in decision making on any NOC matter throughout the stages.
Participatory Approach – The Management and Board will be guided with a participatory approach. Members will be involved actively in NOC activities including decision making and implementation. The structures of the NOC will be activated and the necessary environment for active participation will be fostered within a genuine participatory framework.
Fairness – The Board and management will be guided with strong sense of direction to institute fairness across member associations and sporting disciplines as well as individual excelling athletes. Support will be provided on a basis that strengthens this principle. Nominations of representative to NOC events and activities will also be guided by this principle.
Strategic Interventions of Team King Colley
1. Administration of the GNOC
Currently the administrative setup of the NOC includes the Secretariat. This administrative arm is currently composed of 5 officers (Executive Director, Technical Director, two admin officers and a receptionist). The Secretariat is responsible for implementing management and Board resolutions as well as the day-to-day activities of the NOC. They work closely with management in the daily functioning of the NOC. The number of staff is limited and given the limited capacity development for these offices too, their competence to effectively carryout the activities of the secretariat remains a big challenge. The intervention to solve this menace will be through an exercise to conduct an assessment of the roles of the secretariat, the capacity of the staff in their various roles and required human resources to effectively carry out the activities of the secretariat. The assessment report will be implemented to adequately staff the secretariat with competent personnel and put in place necessary administrative and financial procedures to ensure proper administrative practices in running of the affairs of the NOC. The Government of the Gambia will be engaged based on the principles of the Olympic Charter to support the GNOC with necessary resources for effective functioning of the secretariat. Staff will be trained locally and internationally to keep abreast with good administrative practices.
2. Annual Subvention to National Sports Associations
The GNOC under the leadership of Lamin King Colley will change the narratives by supporting National Sports Associations with an annual Subvention. This support will target to strengthen Associations and help in alleviating their financial struggles especially in the organization of National Sports Championships . The amount will be discussed and proposed to the executive board for approval and inclusion in the annual budget of the NOC.
3. Increasing the number of Athletes to Represent The Gambia in Games and improve performance of the Country
The representation of our country in Games has been a low key affair all this while. The number of athletes is few and preparation to games has been very dismal. The administration of Lamin King Colley will endeavour to support competitive sports to prepare very well before qualification tournaments and help provide training camps within and outside the countrytp foster greater preparations for our teams and athletes. This will be done by forging partnerships with NOCs of many countries especially those in the Middle East for training and camping support
4. Special support for High Performing Athletes
The Gambia now has high performing athletes such as Gina Bass, Faye Njie and the beach volleyball players in Qatar. These high performing athletes will be supported with scholarship programmesand as well to part+icipate in international high level competitions to maintain their competitiveness and allow for improve high performance especially in the run up to Games and major competitions. Partnershipswill be established with international high performance training centres around the world for support and resources will be mobilized from potential sponsors to ensure that this is +realized. This will eventually help to improve the performance level of our country. The target will be for The Gambia to win an Olympic Medal in the next Olympic Games.
5. Construction of a Modern Indoor Court in the Country
Majority of Olympic Sports in the country do not have the required facility to support high level national and international competitions. The Infrastructure for Indoor sports is not available in the country until today. This is shocking and the situation cannot continue. The administration under the leadership of King Colley will work closely with the government to foster vital partnership with countries such as China, Turkey and other countries who are very good in Infrastructure. This will be done through the use of various means including the diplomatic channels. This project will be treated with significant amount of priority.
6. Development of Sporting Facilities in Farafenni , Basse and Bwiam Mini Stadia
The sports Mini Stadia in the regional towns mentioned above lacks standard facilities for many sports. They are mainly football stadia. The administration of King Colley will ensure that facilities such as standard courts for volleyball, basketball, handball, etcare created within the premises of these main sporting grounds. This will be done by engaging central government, local authorities as well as the private sector. This will help create accessibility to playing grounds of many sports to our talented youth folk. This will be a huge priority and the administration will try to realize this in two years of its term in office.
7. Supporting National Sports Associations with Office Space
The Leadership of Lamin King Colley will work with private and public stakeholders including international organizations to maximize the space at the GNOC head Office. New buildingswill be erected to support NSAs with office space within the GNOC facility. This will require resource mobilization and prioritization with respect to NSA’s activeness and level of participation in games and other international competitions. However, the ultimate objective will be to house as much NSAs as possible at the GNOC head office. This will limit the issue of brief case Sports Association and will help in uplifting the administrative activities of many Sports Associations.
8. Capacity building for Coaches, Referees and administrators of various sports
Through the initiatives available at the Olympic Solidarity, the King Colley administration will register courses for as many associations as possibly can be provided by the OS funds. The NOC will also support local training programmes for the officials mentioned above. This initiative will help to strengthen the capacity of our officials and by extension helped them get the right knowledge and competence for the development of our sports.
9. Encouraging and Revitalizing School Sports
The GNOC will work closely with Primary and Secondary School Sports Associations to bring back the vigour of school sport competitions in various sports. The NOC will support directly national competitions especially those around Olympic sports. This will serve to help in talent identification programmes and help inject the spirit of Olympism to our young and future generation.
10. Technical Commissions of the GNOC
The work of the NOC revolve around many diverse areas and sectors. The management and Board of the NOC cannot do all these work effectively. Commissions were virtually inactive for the last 4 years. This has led to so many lapses and also overburdening of the secretariat with work. The new administration of Lamin King Colley will ensure that commissions are set with the right expertise and also are made to be very functional. Commissions will be managed to develop work plans in each year and support will be provided for the proper implementation of the Commissions proposals.
11. Respecting Mandatory Statutory Meetings
There has significant lapses in the organization of AGM by the current administration. This shows complete lack of regard and respect to the national association. It has also defeat the assurance of good governance and transparency in the administration of the NOC in the last years. The new administration will ensure that this is not repeated again. The statutory AGM will be organized every year under right procedures and enough space will be provided for the scrutiny of the work of the Board and Management of the NOC by the general membership.
12. Honouring the Out-going President Alh Dodou Joof and Honorary IOC member Beatrice Allen
The new administration will roll out a fitting hand respectful honor to the senior officials mentioned above. These Official have achieve a lot for sports in the country and their distinguish career in sport will be rewarded accordingly. The two will be be provided with an official recognition and awards for their work in Olympism in The Gambia. This include Honorary Presidency
13. Revitalization of the OlymAfrica Centre in Serekunda East
The OlymAfrica Centre in Serekunda East use to be very active and functional with well organizedprogrammes. The Centre is almost on the verge of collapsing. The support provided to ensure the active implementation of grassroot sports at the centre has been lacking. The management of the facilities at the centre has also been poor. In this regard, the new administration will provide a structured administration for the centre. Activities of grass root sports will be drawn and implemented according to the dictates of the project. The income generated from the renting of the SemegaJanneh Hall will be utilized properly especially towards the sustainability of the activities of the Centre.
The Lamin King Colley team has strong mix of intellectuals and technocrats who have served in many distinguished positions of sports and in other areas in the country. They are energetic, young and very ambitious with strong knowledge and experience. The team is determined to bring many changes as stated in this Manifesto. The team is ready to actively engage all National Associations and bring them closer to the GNOC to optimize their participation in NOC affairs. Opportunities will be rolled out to all deserving persons, especially potential Olympic Athletes. The programmes will ensure that our athletes are the ultimate reflection and beneficiaries. The team wishes to extend its invitation to all national Association especially those that have not join the camp yet. There is strong assurance for victory and the team is on course to change the narratives of GNOC administration in The Gambia.