The Gambia senior team captain, Omar Colley, has lifted the lid on the players refusal on Tuesday to show up for training at the Independence Stadium over unpaid match bonuses.

The action has left scores of fans furious about the  team’s preparedness for the African Cup of Nations tournament which kicks off this weekend. 

Speaking to reporters at the Banjul International Airport shortly before the team left for Ivory Coast today (10 Jan), Colley said the team deliberately refused to train at the Independence Stadium in order to correct some malpractices going on at the country’s football association.

He said the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has flouted the agreement they had with the team last year on an undisclosed amount of match bonuses, adding that they had the agreement with GFF on March 10, 2023.

Colley, 31, said what is allocated for the team should be respected, highlighting that the team was forced to play a day after the earthquake in Marrakesh after demanding the game to be cancel because players felt sick. 

“We were in Marrakech and there was an earthquake and during this time we slept outside for two nights with the fear that this is going to happen again. Normally if this happens the game has to be cancelled. But we had a brief discussion with the president, Lamin Kaba Bajo, that it is better for this game to be cancelled but the information we received was that this game cannot be cancelled because there is not enough money,” he said.

“So, we had a meeting among ourselves and we played the game and qualified which was really difficult, but at the end there was no single match bonus for the players and normally this was the most important game. We received the bonuses later on. We are not blaming anybody; we just want this thing to be addressed so it doesn’t happen again,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said that the team has been promised that the bonuses have been paid to the GFF account and that the players will receive their bonuses in days to come.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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