Penyem has a village sports committee. Northampton Trustee Fund has always supported the development of sport in the village. In fact, it was through sport, that NTF came about.
During our first visit to The Gambia in 2004, we met a local tourist guide called Abdou Camara. He showed us the ‘real’ Gambia. Over the course of our week there we became good friends. We found out that his nickname was ‘Ten’ – after the number he wore on his football shirt when playing for a team. What impressed us about him was that he spoke passionately about his native village of Penyem. This was unlike many other Gambians who only tell you about their families.
By the end of the week we agreed to provide a football kit for the village team, and later that year we returned to present it to the village. This was to be our first of many visits to the village.
Over the years we have provided large amount of sports equipment. This includes football kits, footballs, multi skills equipment and coaching manuals. In 2014 the Sports Development Committee was restructured to involve the younger members of the village. A football tournament was organised, with the winners receiving the NTF Challenge Trophy.
NTF has been delighted with the way the sports committee has developed over the years. There has been a significant effort in the village to encourage younger members to take control. NTF has encouraged this development and helped with a small annual grant to the sports committee and a continuous supply of equipment including a laptop for the Chairman – Mr Omar Bah. NTF would particularly like to acknowledge the support and guidance given to the younger members by the village resident referee, Mr Dowda Bojang.
The village sports committee have ambitious plans to develop their very primitive sports facilities. The football pitch is sand with the odd tuft of grass. Farm animals roam the pitch – even during a match! The development plan is to fully fence the pitch to secure it from the animals and allow the village to charge spectators on match days. The total cost is around £3000. Maybe that could interest a local sports club in the UK?