By Nick Butler

Gambian football fans supporting the under 17 women's national team at the FIFA World Cup in 2012 ©Getty ImagesMarch 30 - A level three football coaching course has begun in The Gambia to improve the technical knowledge of sporting officials in the country.

The intensive two-week course, which is taking place at the Djeliba Hotel in Kololi, is being run by the Gambian National Olympic Committee (GNOC) in collaboration with FIFA and the Gambia Football Association (GFA).

A total of 22 local coaches with level two certificates from football clubs throughout the country, have been selected to participate in the course, which is being conducted by Jan Børge Poulsen, the former Denmark under-21 football team head coach.

It will also be coordinated by GNOC development officer Momodou Demba, who will be assisted by technical department officials from the GFA.

It is hoped that the improvements brought about by the course will lead to progress at all levels of the sport in the country, including at a national team level. 

Gambia is currently placed 136th in the FIFA men's world rankings but, although national women's teams have participated at under 17 and under 19 level, they do not currently have an active female senior team.

Last October the West African nation withdrew from the Commonwealth due to President Yahya Jammeh's opposition to what he described as a "neo-colonial institution" and this means a team will not be competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this year.

But efforts are still being made to promote sport and, as well as the ongoing football course, earlier this month GNOC received 4.8 million dalasi (£80,000/$130,000/€90,000) from the Japanese Government to help improve sports for youth development in the country.