The first national football festival, which took place on 19 December, in the city of Old Yundum, brought together 240 girls, aged between 6 and 12 years old, to stress the federation’s “unalloyed commitment to breaking barriers and taboos” associated with women’s football, said the GFF technical director Ebrima Manneh in an interview.
The event brought to an end a weeklong activity of programmes which began with a four-day technical course for 26 female and two male coaches lead by the Namibian national women’s football team coach and FIFA instructor Jacqueline Shipanga.
On the day, the president of the GFF, Lamin Kaba Baj expressed his executive’s commitment to ensure that the 240 girls are maintained in the field of play for several years to come and highlighted the support of the girls’ families in allowing them to participate in the festival.
The Girls Festival, which was co-ordinated by the graduating participants of the technical course, is based on a FIFA programme that aims to encourage the development and popularisation of football among women and girls worldwide through grassroots initiatives, training and funding for equipment to further the enthusiasm of children and youngsters for the sport.
Choro Mbenga, the national women’s football co-ordinator at the GFF, spoke of the importance of the programme, especially, to further the athletes’ development in the national drive towards attaining excellence in football.
“I am also with the view that in order for us to attain our vision of excellence in grassroots development, women football should be given the required attention.”
We should allocate adequate resources to training courses for coaches, physical education teachers, regional leagues, schools sports, infrastructural development and publicity purposes,” said Choro.
The GFF women’s football co-ordinator also expressed optimism that the festival will enhance the development of women football in the country and as well encourage public and private sector partners to pay greater attention to it.