THE SCORPIONS ARE IN GOOD HANDS; PETER BONU JOHNSON IS THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB
- Friday, 06 January 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The Gambian Sports waves have been buzzing lately with the appointment of Peter Bonu Johnson as Head Coach for the senior national scorpions. Evidently what should have been a real victory and vindication for local Gambian coaches has become a rather murky situation with some mudslinging and misguided statements coming from some corners of the footballing spectrum.
However it is convincing to note that the winningest Man in Gambian Football by far one of continental Africa’s most respectable football personalities in Alhagie OB Conateh have stepped forward and dilated positively on this appointment. Along with him is one of Gambia’s most celebrated football commentators and Sports Journalist in my very distinguished colleague in Peter Gomez [of West Coast Radio and Gambia Sports Online], who like me believes deep down in his Heart that given the ‘right’ support and tools, Bonu can get the job done.
Compelled by the numerous emails by some of my colleagues in the sports media fraternity, I feel obligated to come out and support all those who stand behind this appointment which is a step in the right direction. While the stigma remains that only a foreign coach can improve our football prowess which realistically is a taboo if we take the success of foreign coaches into account; this is the right time to nurture our own and ensure that we give them the tools and environment to become dominant like their colleagues in say Ghana because ours are equally on the same pedestal as their counterparts in other jurisdictions within the sub-region.
Bonu Johnson if we look at his record is by far the most successful Gambian Coach. He has not only won the African Junior Football Championships, he held his own in Canada when it mattered. Even after a brief hiatus, he came back and resuscitated a program that was hanging on for dear life in The Gambia Port Authority. To me what this demonstrates is Johnson’s ability to turn things around. If you know the guy, he is one tough stud.
Besides he is as equally qualified on paper with a Class A License like all these NO NAME foreign coaches who made the shortlist. You look at their records, it’s simple, Bonu has won at the world’s grandest football stage and I’d leave it that.
While I sense some political bickering and gerrymandering, which I want no part off; I want to say unequivocally without any reservation that the Authorities made the right call, one that I have agitated for many years. At this point in time, who got informed of what and who didn’t matter not. Developing our football is what counts and I do believe that those entrusted with administrating football in Gambia share my view or they would not have been volunteering and taking the heat for so long.
What is the way forward?
Indeed it is one that originates from the Quadrangle via the FA Headquarters and unto Independence Stadium (Stade Alhagie Njie “Biri” if I had my own way) with all the Chinese floodlights beaming on the glorious future of Gambian football. Simply put, we must hold those responsible for administrating Football in The Gambia accountable. The game is way bigger than any one individual, lack of cooperation and dialogue will not only hinder the progress of Gambian football but will also hold the gallant fans hostage and YES it is their game.
In sum, this is the time to rally behind one of our own. We do have competent people that can be part of his support cast. Bonu Johnson has what it takes and the old Wollof adage applies in this case, “NDANKA NDANKA, JAPPA GOLO.” I am out!
Who is Tijan Masanneh?
Tijan Masanneh Ceesay is a veteran football commentator/sport journalist who sat next to Gambian Football Icon Saul Njie for many years as a young Radio Gambia football commentator. He also founded and managed Roots Football Club and has produced many former internationals most notable amongst them Aziz Corr, Sheikh Ndure, Mustapha Minteh, James Freeman, Saul faye, Badou Samba and Boy Badou Nyang. Though away, he stays in touch with Gambian football on a regular basis and has contributed numerous football features in Football Journals.
By: Tijan Masanneh Ceesay
Veteran Football Commentator/Sports Journalist