Sports Journalists Converge for SJAG’s AGM on Saturday

BY: Alieu Ceesay

The Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) on Saturday successfully held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Gambia National Olympic Conference Hall, Kanifing.

The AGM was attended by SJAG members and representatives from the GNOC and Gambia Press Union.

The AGM is a constitutional requirement that members shall meet annually for the executive to report back to members what it has been doing on their behalf.

In his welcoming remarks, Pape Saine, Honorary Life President of the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) spoke highly of the importance of organizing AGMs, which will show everyone how transparent the Association is under the leadership of President Musa Sise.

He commended SJAG President Musa Sise for his honesty and love for the Association, therefore, calling on institutions and companies to support the Association. As an Association, the veteran sports journalists, Pape Saine urged members of the Association to be united and focus in the interest of SJAG. He said he is aware of the challenges confronting the Association in terms of finance and capacity building. The profession, he said, has grown over the years with the increase number of sports journalists.

Seasoned Sports Journalist Musa Sise is the President of SJAG. He said the AGM is a constitutional requirement for the Association to meet annually for the executive to report back to its members what it has been doing on their behalf.

“It is important to know that the operation and function of SJAG is not the easiest of tasks that anyone would embark on.”

The executive of SJAG, he told delegates, has been striving continuously to make a difference for the next executive that will come in. He used the meeting to remind members of the need to be professionals in their daily work.

Sise went onto to implore on Sports Journalists to be active members of the body for the betterment of all. “SJAG is here to live. We can be critical but we should always promote our sports and athletes positively.” He finally thanked and saluted Pape Saine for always being there for sports journalists.

Abdoulie Jallow, Secretary General of The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) said journalists are key partners in national development, sports in particular. The GNOC, he said, will continue to help in building the capacity of sports journalists. He commended the Association for organizing the AGM in line with the dictates of the Constitution. He promised that GNOC will continue to partner with SJAG in the interest of sports development.

Also in attendance at the AGM was Saikou Jammeh, Secretary General of Gambia Press Union (GPU). He said it is important that SJAG as a body holding sports association accountable is seen setting example by organizing the AGM to report to members for review and scrutiny.

“GPU is very proud of the Sports Journalists’ Association as one of the most active affiliates in the media industry. We have seen you training your members, which is quite very key. We have also seen you consistently organizing awards in the country which is also very important in terms of promoting excellence in sports in the country.”

The SJAG and GPU, Jammeh said, shared certain concerns which are capacity building and regulating the media. “We are very happy that SJAG has supported its members to undergo training at the GPU School of Journalism.”

Delivering the SJAG’s Activity Report for the year under review, Alieu Ceesay, Secretary General of the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, said the SJAG on Saturday, 4th March, 2017 successfully held its 2016 delayed Annual General Meeting (AGM).

SJAG Awards Night 2017

“In what was a night of glamour and glitz reserved to celebrate the country’s heroes and heroines in sports for 2016, the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) on 28th April 2017 held its 8th National Sports Awards Night at DjembehHotel and Spa at Kololi.”

Three times Africa Best Referee Award winner, Bakary Papa Gassama was crowned Gambia’s Sports Personality of the Year 2016 during the event. In other categories, sprinter Adama Jammeh won the Best Local-Based Athlete, Omar Colley won the Best Foreign-Based Athlete, Mawdo Jallow won the Best Male Referee, IsatouTouray won the Best Female Referee, GPA won the Best Team Award, GPA Coach Alhagie Sarr was awarded Best Coach of the Year, Sprinter Gina Bass was awarded Best Female Athlete, Fatoumata Sillah won the Emerging Talent Award, and National Female Beach Volleyball Team won the Emerging Team of the Year. There was also a special award for Paralympian Demba Jarju.

There were also honorary awards to Late Alhaji MomodouDibba, Late Father Gough, Late MI Jallow, Late Abdou Shyllon, Saffie Sanneh, Mam Essa Gaye, Alhagie Nyan, Hon DemboJatta, Dadoh Jah and Haddy Sillah-Njie.

80th AIPS Congress in Seoul

“The President of the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG), Musa Sise, was in the South Korean city of Seoul for the 80th Congress of the Association of International Press Sport (AIPS).”

During this congress, delegates representing national sports associations elected a new president and executive that will steer the affairs of the AIPS for the next four years.

International Sports Journalists' Day 

He reported that the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) on 5th August 2017 commemorated the annual International Sports Journalists Day (ISJD) at the Sand Beach Hotel. ISJD is commemorated globally annually on 2nd July.

The event, he said, wrapped up with the annual fun day out on the beach, where members interacted and had fun as members of the same profession. He told delegates that, in a bid to better build the capacity of its members, SJAG paid the tuition fees for all the SJAG-registered members who were enrolled at the GPU-School of Journalism and Digital Media for the Certificate and Diploma courses.

Two of SJAG members, John Mendy and Momodou Gajaga, according SG Ceesay, were in Cape Coast, Ghana in September, 2017 to cover the West African Football Union (WAFU) football tournament.

“The duo’s presence in Ghana was made possible through the partnership between SJAG and Fly Mid Africa.”

“The Association is very much aware of the need to have our members exposed to international competition and will continue to look for partners to make this happen.”

Speaking further, Ceesay said, a high-powered delegation led by SJAG 1st Vice President Uthman Jeng were in Dakar in December 2017 to witnessed the annual awards night organized by our sister association, ANPS.

“Other members of the delegation included executive member Babucarr Sey and assistant treasurer Kaddy Cham. SJAG member Sally Jeng was also among the delegation.”

AIPS Africa Congress 

“SJAG could not be represented at the December 2017 AIPS Africa Congress held in Nairobi. This was as a result of the Air traffic controllers strike at the Dakar Airport. The SJAG was to be represented by the President Musa Sise.”

Concluding his report, SJAG Secretary General Alieu Ceesay said, despite the undertaken during the year under review, the challenges remain. “The association's financial status remains a main hindrance to the implementation of the many plans by the body.”

He therefore, hope members will change their perception towards SJAG and realise that the body does not belong to an individual, but for the entire sports journalism fraternity.

Namory Trawally, SJAG’s Treasurer presented the audited financial statements, outlining the income and expenditure of the Association for the year.

Both reports by the Secretary General and Treasurer were adopted by delegates following proper scrutiny.